PSY259: In recent years there has been an exponential increase in interest in a set of socially aversive traits collectively referred: Personality and Individual Differences Report, SUSS, Singapore

University Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)
Subject PSY259: Personality and Individual Differences

In recent years there has been an exponential increase in interest in a set of socially aversive traits collectively referred to as the Dark Triad traits and their psychosocial determinants and correlates. Although narcissism and psychopathy originated in clinical literature and practice, they are treated as sub-clinical traits in the Dark Triad composite.

Hence, the Dark Triad deals with narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism at non-clinical levels that vary within the normal population. People high on these “dark” personalities are characterized by disagreeableness, callousness, dishonesty, duplicity, and aggressiveness; they tend to lead a fast and exploitive, rather than a caring and prosocial, life.

Of these three dark traits, narcissism is on the “lighter” side while the other two, the Malicious Two, are further on the dark side. For instance, while people showing psychopathic or Machiavellian traits do not particularly live a long, and happy life, high scorers on narcissism often report higher levels of self-esteem and subjective well-being.

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Additionally, higher levels of attractiveness in narcissists “lead to positive feedback from others that enhances self-views”. Nevertheless, this does not mean that narcissism is a purely adaptive trait; it is clearly maladaptive in a number of respects and has long-term interpersonal costs, such as mate abandonment, and attachment dysfunctions.

In the current study, we are interested in delineating a more comprehensive view of the Dark Triad traits’ independent links to eudaimonic and hedonic well-being. While some emerging studies report the relationship of the Dark Triad with SWB, those examining eudaimonic well-being in relation to the dark traits are almost non-existent.

Hedonic conceptualization of well-being, upon which the SWB measurements are based, involves the pursuit of fairly immediate gratification, whereas eudaimonic well-being may need an investment in the future, and involve activities that are not necessarily enjoyable at the time they are carried out.

Since much of the common variance in the Dark Triad is captured by the HEXACO Honesty–Humility dimension and that Honesty–Humility has been shown to have positive correlations with Ryff’s (1989) psychological well-being measures, which are based on a eudaimonic conceptualization of wellbeing we expect to find some negative associations between the Dark Triad particularly the Malicious Two and eudaimonic well-being. Due to narcissism’s links to greater self-esteem and SWB, and the overlap between hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, one might expect to find a similar pattern of results in the eudaimonic arena.

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