Vindictive Behavior: A Qualitative Inquiry into Causes and Consequences among University Students

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Shazia Khalid, Sumaya Batool, Shazia Ashraf



Previous studies have linked vindictive behavior with emotional instability, anger, narcissism and lack of empathy and forgiveness, but still individuals frequently express this tendency. This exploratory inquiry was undertaken to investigate tendency, causes, and consequences of exhibiting vindictive behavior among university students in Pakistan. An open-ended structured interview schedule was employed to achieve the objectives of the present study. The sample comprised of 44 participants, including 57% women students. The ages of the respondents ranged from 17 to 47. Analysis suggested that 68% participants admitted tendency for vindictiveness while 32% reported being vengeful sometimes. Interestingly, none of the participants reported being never vindictive. Thematic analysis was employed to analyze the qualitative data. According to the participants, people show vengeful behavior mainly because they are hurt or they want reinstate their power. The participants also agreed that vindictive behavior destroys relationships and can result in psychological and emotional problems and can reduce satisfaction with life. The present study provides preliminary evidence for tendency in individuals for vindictive behavior irrespective of the fact that such behavior might be socially considered undesirable. The findings provide direction for advanced qualitative investigations.


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