Challenge Accepted! Evaluating the Personality and Social Network Characteristics of Individuals Who Participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


  • Rory McGloin University of Connecticut
  • Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch University of Connecticut.


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Big 5 personality characteristics, online social capital, opinion leadership, Facebook, social media campaigns


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a popular campaign on Facebook for raising awareness and money for the research of ALS. Given its unprecedented success, it is important to identify the personality and individual difference characteristics that distinguished participants from non-participants. Using an online survey of Facebook users (N = 261), this study investigates the influence that the Big Five personality variables, narcissism, altruism, online social capital, and online opinion leadership have on participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Results indicated that extraversion, openness to experience, and altruism positively predict bridging social capital on Facebook. Facebook users with higher social capital were found to have greater opinion leadership on Facebook, which in turn made them more likely to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. These findings have important implications for predicting which individuals will participate in future online social campaigns, which may help organizers target these audiences.

Author Biographies

Rory McGloin, University of Connecticut

Rory McGloin, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut.

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, University of Connecticut.

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut.


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