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Taking Offense: Effects of Personality and Teasing History on Behavioral and Emotional Reactions to Teasing


concerning this article should be addressed to Monica J. Harris, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 40506-0044. Electronic mail may be sent to


Abstract This study investigated how global personality traits and teasing history are related to participants' emotional and behavioral reactions to an actual teasing event. College undergraduates (N=108) worked on a task with a same-sex confederate. While interacting, the confederate either teased participants about how slowly they were working on the task or made a benign comment about the nature of the task. Analyses revealed that even mild teasing can generate negativity towards the teaser and interaction. More interestingly, however, personality moderated reactions to teasing, as teasing condition interacted with each of the Big Five personality domains in theoretically meaningful ways. Childhood teasing history also moderated reactions to teasing, as frequent victims and frequent teasers responded in different ways.