Men’s narcissistic tendencies explain why they are more likely than women to troll on Facebook, researchers say.

The claim comes from an all-female team of psychologists who argue that the anti-social and potentially harmful personality disorder is a mostly male trait.

It is narcissism that accounts for the greater number of aggressive and abusive Facebook messages posted by men, they allege.

In contrast, women are said to use the social media site “pro-socially” to enhance their sense of connectedness and belonging.

Writing in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, the team led by Dr Nelli Ferenczi, from Goldsmiths, University of London, said: “The link between narcissism and stronger anti-social Facebook use might be connected with the general tendency of narcissists to hold extremely positive opinions of themselves which may alienate others."

“By posting self-promoting content on Facebook, narcissists may seek to cultivate an online profile which attracts admiration and views but ultimately isn’t really concerned with pro-social outcomes.

“Moreover, narcissists tend to be antagonistic towards people who don’t share their inflated views of themselves.

“Such antagonism may express itself in hostility or anger towards Facebook friends who challenge them or don’t give them the attention they crave.”

The psychologists, who also included Dr Tara Marshall and Dr Kathrine Bejanyan, both from Brunel University, pointed out that previous studies had found higher levels of narcissism in men.

Previous research had also shown that men were more likely to engage in “cyber-bullying” on Facebook and online trolling in general.

Narcissism is a recognised personality disorder characterised by a misplaced sense of superiority and entitlement, exaggerating achievements and talents, an unwillingness to recognise the feelings and needs of others, and needing to be constantly admired.

Some commentators have accused US President Donald Trump of being a narcissist. One American psychologist and author, Dr John Gartner, declared in USA Today: “Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism is toxic.”