Navigation Links
Ranting on Websites May Just Make You Angrier

By Barbara Bronson Gray
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- It's so tempting. You read something on a website about a hot-button issue that makes you mad and you've got to respond. Before you know it, you're verbally sparring with a stranger. But you may want to think twice before jumping into the fray.

While you might like getting your point of view off your chest, over the long term your rants may be making you less happy and more angry, suggest two new studies by a single research team.

The first study showed that while visitors to common "rant" websites reported feeling more relaxed immediately after posting a comment, overall they tend to experience more anger in general and can express their frustration in maladaptive ways.

The second study found that both reading other people's rants and writing your own are associated with negative mood shifts. The research was published online in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

"The Internet brings out impulsivity problems more than anything else," said lead author Ryan Martin, an associate professor of human development and psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "It's too easy to respond right away when you are most angry."

Martin said while the study focused solely on rant websites that are devoted to back-and-forth virtual screaming, the research has implications for Facebook and Twitter, and even news sites and blogs. He said the combination of being anonymous by using a screen name and having what he calls "social distance" reduce an individual's sense of restraint or caution about how to interact.

Websites that function as virtual punching bags reinforce harmful behavior, Martin said. "Most of these sites encourage venting as a way of dealing with anger," he said. "They think of venting as a healthy adaptive approach, and it's not."

For some people, venting online is caused by a sense of powerlessness and a feeling that they just can't make a difference, Martin said. A third study he did related to the published research looked at the content of rant sites and found that "people are angry at big groups of people: Democrats, Republicans, illegal immigrants," he said. "People want to feel they're doing something and think just expressing their feelings to the world will help."

Martin said venting has been described as putting a fire out with gasoline. But it's not actually the anger that's detrimental, according to the researchers. "There is nothing wrong with being angry and there are lots of things to be angry about, and that is healthy," said Martin. But he added that a healthier and more effective approach is to get involved and do something to effect the kind of change you want, or focus on problem solving.

For the first study, the researchers posted an online survey on four popular rant sites, promising a chance at a $50 gift card for participating. The survey assessed how angry the participants tended to be and how they expressed their anger, as well as consequences they've experienced due to their anger-related behavior.

Participants aged between 14 and 54, including 11 females and 21 males, visited the rant site one to three times a month on average -- but some checked in much more often, even daily. An average visit lasted for between 11 and 15 minutes.

Participants also answered questions about why they visit the site and how they feel after ranting. The majority said they visit sites out of curiosity (about 78 percent). Of the 75 percent of participants who post rants, all said they usually feel calm and relaxed after ranting. Most people said they were looking for validation of how they were feeling from other people's responses to their rants.

The second study tapped students in introductory college psychology courses who earned course credit for participating. The average age was about 19. After completing a screening test designed to gauge their happiness, sadness, anger and fear levels, they viewed a home page of a rant site and were asked to read through the rants for five minutes.

Next, they spent five minutes writing their own anonymous rant, and retook the same screening test they took before going to the rant site.

Some experts expressed caution in interpreting the study results. Andrea Weckerle, president of CiviliNation, a nonprofit organization working to reduce online hostility and adult cyberbullying, said that the small number of participants in both studies means the study should serve only as a talking point to stimulate discussion about the issue of Internet ranting. She added that using only college students in the second study limited how much their reactions could be applied to others.

But Weckerle said the problem is real. "Online hostility is a public health crisis. Lives are destroyed through aggression online," she noted.

While some people feel justified in ruthlessly expressing anger because they think the Internet is a separate world, Weckerle said they are wrong. "This is not a different environment. This is real life."

More information

Learn more about civility on the Internet from

SOURCES: Ryan Martin, Ph.D., associate professor, human development and psychology, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Andrea Weckerle, J.D., M.A., founder and president, CiviliNation, Minneapolis; February 2013, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, online

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Doctor Mike Hamilton of Inception Chiropractic Websites Issues a Warning to Chiropractors about Recent Chiropractic Search Engine Optimization Penalties
2. TherapySites (Websites for Therapists) Announces Partnership with California Society for Clinical Social Work to Offer Website Marketing for Social Workers
3. Ad Network Now Delivers Traffic To Immigration Consultants Business Websites
4. MileageAds Announces Plans for Donation Websites to Earn Revenue through their Ad Network
5. VetWebsites (Websites for Veterinarians) Announces Partnership with VetsMyWay to Offer Website Marketing For Veterinarians
6. VetWebsites (Websites for Veterinarians) Announces a New eNewsletter Feature For Veterinarians in 2013
7. Depressed Patients May Gain From Self-Help Books, Websites
8. DentistSites (Websites for Dentists) Announces a New eNewsletter Feature for Dentists in 2013
9. Tariq Drabu Dentist Affair and Media Department Heralds First Six Months of New Websites
10. TherapySites (Websites for Therapists) Announces Partnership with Counseling Wise to Offer Website Marketing For Therapists
11. Think Quick-Think Mobile-Think Websites
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... PLAINSBORO, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... same sources, yet in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, ... Oncology (EBO), a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment ... also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network ... the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased ... location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on ... article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo ... such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm ... 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered ... Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... N.J. , June 24, 2016  Collagen ... the design, development and manufacturing of collagen and ... regeneration announced today that Bill Messer ... and Marketing to further leverage the growing portfolio ... medical devices. Bill joins the Collagen ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick ... Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University ... for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... addition of the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart ... Integrated Photovoltaics Structural electronics involves ... as load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: