Aggression can be defined as actions that intentionally inflict harm on others , and including the four sub-traits of physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostility . It is very common in society. Aggression manifests itself in the form of war, terrorism, and assassination . Based on the general aggression model (GAM), person and situation factors trigger internal, emotional, and cognitive routes that make people engage in aggressive behavior . The link between aggression and personality, as affecting factors, has attracted much attention. Numerous studies have explored the connection between the Big Five personality traits and aggression [4,5,6]. The current study focuses on emotional perspective, especially benign/malicious envy in order to bring to light the relationship between Big Five personality traits and aggression. Envy is a basic negative emotion . It can also be divided into two completely different forms: benign and malicious . Do people with different personality traits display aggression differently, related by benign/malicious envy? Based on the GAM, the purpose of this study is to reveal the intrinsic role of benign/malicious envy in the big Five personality traits and aggression, and measure all variables at the trait level, especially aggression and envy.
Big Five personality traits and aggression
The Big Five personality traits include five facets: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness [9, 10]. Neuroticism refers specifically to people’s tendency to be anxious, hostile, and impulsive. Extraversion reflects people’s tendency to be enthusiastic, optimistic, and social. Openness to experience reveals people’s tendency to innovate and seek out different solutions. Conscientiousness manifests itself in the tendency to have due diligence and self-discipline Agreeableness reflects people’s level of trust, altruism, and straight-forwardness .
Which Big Five personality traits are associated with aggression? Anderson and Bushman  proposed the GAM, which contains three routes: inputs of person and situation; internal emotional, and cognitive processes; and assessment and decision-making. Based on the GAM, people with different personality traits may have different emotional and cognitive routes when facing the same situation . As a result, some people may show aggressive impulses and behaviors, while others may not [11, 12]. For instance, people with higher levels of neuroticism are more likely to experience painful and irrational thoughts. They may then engage in aggressive behaviors [11, 13]. On the other hand, people with higher levels of agreeableness are less likely to engage in aggressive behaviors .
Meanwhile, prior studies have explored the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and situational/dispositional aggression separately. Regarding situational aggression, Bettencourt et al.  used a scenario-induced method. They found that neuroticism positively correlated with aggression, whereas agreeableness negatively linked with aggression. A large amount of research on dispositional aggression has also been conducted. Dam et al.  revealed that agreeableness and conscientiousness were negatively associated with aggression, whereas neuroticism was positively related to aggression. Li et al.  found that neuroticism positively linked with aggression, whereas agreeableness negatively correlated with aggression. Gleason et al.  indicated that openness to experience tends to be unlinked with aggression. However, the relationship between extraversion and aggression is mixed. Sharpe and Desai  found that the relationship between extraversion and aggression was negative, whereas Gallo and Smith  revealed a positive link between extraversion and aggression. In conclusion, the link the Big Five personality traits and dispositional aggression had slight complex, whereas the relationship between neuroticism, agreeableness and aggression remains relatively stable. In this regard, we expect the present study to corroborate this pattern of interrelation, and also explore the relationship between openness to experience, extraversion, conscientiousness and aggression.
The mediating role of benign/malicious envy
Envy that comes from an adverse upward social comparison is an unpleasant emotion that arises when we are at a disadvantage compared to others . Some studies determined that envy is a painful irrational emotion [21, 22]. Alternatively, envy can be divided into benign and malicious according to other findings . Prior studies have found both benign and malicious envy at the state level [23,24,25]. Lange and Crusius  research further revealed that similar to the state level, there are two distinct types of envy at the trait level: dispositional benign envy and malicious envy. The dual envy theory proposes that these two different forms of dispositional envy are derived from a deep-rooted sense of inferiority, a persistent tendency to compare and the painful experience of comparing with upward [24, 26, 27]. This research focuses on the two types of envy at the trait level.
Furthermore, appraisal theory holds that each emotion is associated with a specific appraisal model, which is the cognition of the perceptual antecedents of emotional experience . Accordingly, dispositional benign/malicious envy also have their own appraisal patterns [27, 29, 30]. This difference is mainly reflected in deservingness and control potential [8, 30]. Meanwhile, these two distinct forms of envy have different emotional experiences [27, 31]. Specifically, comparison with undeserving people and the self-evaluation pattern of low control potential will trigger malicious envy, and thus more likely to experience depression and hostility [30, 31]. On the contrary, comparison with people who deserve an advantage and the self-evaluation pattern of high control potential will lead to benign envy and thus less likely to experience depression and dejection [30, 32]. Meanwhile, the aim of the malicious envy is to put down the envied person and remove them from their superior position [26, 27, 33]. Benign envy is also a frustrating experience, but its motivation is to improve oneself [23, 30, 34]. Therefore, benign envy has a positive side [35, 36].
According to the GAM, this study focuses on emotional perspective , mainly the emotional characteristics of envy. Namely, people with different personality traits may experience various levels of negative emotions, and thus have different levels of relationship with aggression. Based on the above, we would like to explore the role of these two types of envy within the Big Five personality traits and its link to aggression.
We will first consider the link between neuroticism and benign/malicious envy. Few studies have directly explored the relationship between the two, Smith et al.  found a positive correlation between neuroticism and dispositional envy. The established coefficient equaled 0.41–0.56. It is important to stress that the above studies referred to envy as a malicious emotion that contains hostile elements. In this case, people with higher levels of neuroticism may be more likely to experience malicious envy. Compared to malicious envy, benign envy has a number of beneficial aspects and allows for more positive regard of its object [26, 27, 35]. Thus, neuroticism may be negatively correlated with benign envy. Neuroticism individuals may produce more hostile and painful negative emotions [9, 38]. Individuals generally tend to make upward social comparisons, and if they perceive their status as threatened, neuroticism individuals are more likely to experience malicious envy [39, 40], which may be associated with aggression .
Additionally, agreeableness is the tendency to be compassionate and cooperative to others, and to care about social harmony . People with higher levels of agreeableness are less likely to experience a feeling of depression [43, 44], hostility and resentment . Agreeableness individuals are usually considerate, friendly, generous, helpful and willing to compromise their own interests with others . Thus, individuals generally tend to make upward social comparisons, agreeable individuals may experience the benign kind of envy when they perceive themselves as disadvantaged, lowering their chances to engage in aggressive behaviors. Therefore, benign/malicious envy may be the underlying connection between agreeableness and aggression.
As far as the link between other personality (conscientiousness, openness to experience, extraversion) and benign/malicious envy. Conscientiousness features are to show self-discipline, act dutifully ; openness to experience is characterized by curious, good at appreciating art, and sensitive to beauty . People with higher levels of extraversion enjoy being with people, they are often enthusiastic [9, 10]. Positive emotions are one of the characteristics of extroversion . Considering that there is no research to explore the relationship between these three personalities and benign/malicious envy, this research is only a preliminary speculation on the relationship between them. Future research should further to explore the relationship between these three personality traits and benign/malicious envy.
Interestingly, a number of research papers have examined the link between benign/malicious envy and aggression incidentally. Smith et al.  provided supportive evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the sense of injustice and envy may result in aggression. Smith and Kim  argued that envy might lead to aggression because of the feeling of frustration. Moreover, Bao-Pei and Lei  found that envy can lead to multiple types of aggression, such as interpersonal conflicts and vicious crimes. Additionally, envy has been considered a sin for a long time . It also appeared to be a hostile emotion that often prompts aggressive behaviors . In the above studies, envy is often referred to as malicious. As a result, people with a higher degree of malicious envy are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. In contrast, people with higher benign envy are tend to experience less hostility, resentment, and dejection [23, 25, 30, 36], thus these subjects are less likely to engage in aggressive behaviors.
The current study
Based on the GAM, this article intends to explore the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and aggression. We further explore the mediating role of different forms of envy. Considering that the link between neuroticism, agreeableness and aggression remains relatively stable. Therefore, benign/malicious envy may be a promising mediating role that connects neuroticism, agreeableness and aggression. Furthermore, Kahlbaugh and Huffman  found that conscientiousness, openness to experience and extraversion were positively related to positive emotions. This shows that these three personalities are positively associated with positive emotions, while envy is negative emotions. Therefore, these three personalities may be negatively correlated with envy. However, benign envy has a positive side [35, 36]. Based on this, conscientiousness, openness to experience and extraversion also may be negatively correlated with malicious envy and positively related to benign envy. However, there are uncertainties and ambiguities in the relationship between other personality traits (conscientiousness, openness to extraversion, experience) and aggressiveness, and it is difficult to make clear hypotheses in this paper. Based on this, we propose the following hypotheses:
Neuroticism would positively correlate with aggression; agreeableness would negatively correlate with aggression.
Neuroticism would be positively correlated with aggression through associating malicious/benign envy; agreeableness would be negatively correlated with aggression through associating benign/malicious envy.