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Social Group Identity and Perceptions of Online Hate

NCJ Number
Sociological Inquiry Volume: 89 Issue: 3 Dated: 2019 Pages: 427-452
Date Published
26 pages

In examining why some people find online hate material more disturbing than others, the current study used a random sample of Americans between the ages 15 and 36 to address this issue.


Descriptive results from this study indicate that a majority of respondents surveyed found online hate material very or extremely disturbing, while smaller proportions found it moderately, slightly, or not at all disturbing. The study used an ordinal logistic regression to explore factors associated with these varying perceptions of hate material. Results indicate that males and political conservatives found hate material less disturbing than females and political moderates or liberals. These results are expected, since online hate is largely dominated by right-wing extremists who frequently target females and non-conservatives. The study also found that individuals who view hate material more frequently find it more disturbing, as do those who have been the target of hate or criminality online. Finally, individuals who are more accepting of violating social norms are less disturbed by online hate. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019