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The Dark Triad and jealousy: Sex differences in experience, induction, and motives

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date29/05/2017
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventAnnual Conference of the European Association of Psychology & Law - Brouwgebouw Lamot VZW, Mechelen, Belgium
Duration: 28/05/201731/05/2017


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Association of Psychology & Law


Introduction: Jealousy is a main motive for intimate partner homicide, so how is it differentially experienced in men and women with dark personality traits? Research has suggested men and women’s experience of jealousy differs, yet the rate at which they induce jealousy in their romantic partners and the motivations for doing so are generally similar. We sought to discover what is associated with inducing jealousy in one’s partner and whether the motives for doing so are related to personality traits. We examined correlations among Dark Triad traits, jealous experience (behavioural, cognitive, and emotional), the purposeful induction of jealousy in one’s partner, and the motivations for doing so.

Method: We used self-report data from 317 women and 125 men age 18-81 years. Bivariate correlations and hierarchical regression analyses were used to assess the correlations between Dark Triad traits, experienced jealousy, jealousy induction, and motives for inducing jealousy.

Results: The Dark Triad and specifically, psychopathy, is significantly positively correlated with jealous experience, jealousy induction, and malevolent motivations for inducing jealousy in both sexes. Men’s experience of jealousy was most closely tied to antisocial behaviour, while women’s experience of jealousy was most related to an erratic lifestyle and interpersonal manipulation. While psychopathy was a predictor of revenge and power/control motivations in both sexes, Machiavellianism and the Dark Triad as a whole were significant predictors for these motivations in women.

Discussion: This study provides support for examining the Dark Triad and a two factor/four-facet model of psychopathy when investigating indirect aggression in interpersonal relationships. In addition, this study provides insight into the affective experiences of “dark” individuals and explores some of the more covert manifestations of dark traits in women. Clinicians must be trained to recognize signs of jealousy in men who have antisocial tendencies and be extra vigilant during a separation or divorce.