Coordinating Author Information: Shelby C. Vaughn | Mississippi State University

Session Abstract:The Dark Triad (DT; Paulhus & Williams, 2002) is composed of the socially aversive, sub-clinical personality traits Machiavellianism (manipulation of others), narcissism (feelings of grandiosity, entitlement, dominance, and self-superiority), and psychopathy (high impulsivity and thrill seeking, low empathy and anxiety; Stead et al., 2012). The highest mean correlations are between psychopathy and Machiavellianism and the lowest between narcissism and Machiavellianism (Furnhamet al., 2013). However, there is a dearth of research regarding the DT in relation to other constructs, which could help delineate their relations. For instance, there is minimal research between the DT and anger rumination (i.e., Yang et al., 2019). Furthermore, like the DT, anger rumination has been examined in relation to self-control and aggression, such that anger rumination increase aggressive urges (Li et al., 2019). The DT is also positively related to criminal activity and delinquency (Wright et al., 2017). Previous research has not examined DT traits together with anger rumination. The current study will examine the relations between DT traits, anger rumination, and maladaptive behaviors. It is hypothesized that all three domains of the DT will positively predict anger rumination. Additionally, it is hypothesized that Machiavellianism and psychopathy will indirectly predict maladaptive behavior via anger rumination. The following Five Factor Model measures were utilized to measure the DT: Five Factor Machiavellianism Inventory (Collison et al., 2018), the Five Factor Narcissism Inventory- Short Form (Lynam et al., 2014), and the Elemental Psychopathy Assessment – Super Short Form (Collison et al., 2016). Maladaptive behaviors were measured with 10 dichotomous questions (e.g., yes or no) asking participants if they engaged in criminal activity (e.g., theft, reckless driving) in the past month. In a college student sample (n = 294), the mean age was 19.74 (SD = 1.61), with a majority being white (84.40%) and their sex being majority women (66.30%). First, utilizing SPSS multiple regression, anger rumination was directly predicted by Machiavellianism (b = -.15, t(294) = -4.48, p < .001) and narcissism (b = .17, t(294) = 5.78, p < .001). However, it was not predicted by psychopathy (b = .06, t(294) = .74, p = .461). Second, utilizing Mplus pathway analysis, each type of DT was made to predict anger rumination and maladaptive behaviors while anger rumination was made to predict maladaptive behaviors. This accounted for covariances and error. After initial analyses, the two insignificant pathways of psychopathy to anger rumination and narcissism to maladaptive behaviors were trimmed. After this trim, maladaptive behaviors were directly and positively predicted by anger rumination (b = .33, p < .001) and psychopathy (b = .25, p < .001), but directly and negatively predicted by Machiavellianism (b = -.14, p = .013). Anger rumination was directly and positively predicted by narcissism (b = .45, p < .001), but directly and negatively predicted by Machiavellianism (b = -.26, p < .001). Machiavellianism was the only DT variable to indirectly predict maladaptive behaviors through anger rumination. Further research is needed to confirm if these findings would replicate in a longitudinal, non-student sample.


Shelby C. Vaughn | Mississippi State University

Courtney K. Mason, BS | Mississippi State University

Hilary L. DeShong, PhD | Mississippi State University

Leave a Reply