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Abstract

People enthusiastic about human brands eagerly engage in fan communities to share their common interests with others. Although sharing one``s enthusiasm towards the same celebrities can give them positive senses of we-ness (in-group identity, togetherness, camaraderie) and belongingness, negative sides also exist such as schadenfreude and trash talk. Even though the studies addressing the negative sides of fan community are gaining significance, no prior studies formally examined the negative consequences of engaging in a fan community and their effect on one``s well-being. Therefore, this current study aims to investigate how engaging in fan community negatively affects members`` psychological well-being through schadenfreude and trash talk. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that engaging highly in a fan community leads members to feel malicious pleasure at rivals`` misfortunes and share negative opinions of rival human brands and fan communities. These negative consequences of fan community engagement ultimately lead to a lower level of psychological well- being, especially in the area of personal growth whereas fan community engagement has a direct positive effect on personal growth. By showing the negative influences of engaging in fan communities on members`` well-being through schadenfreude and trash talk, the results of this study are expected to add depth to the existing literature.

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