Testing construct independence in the Short Dark Triad using Item Response Theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Dark Triad (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy) is a popular construct for describing socially aversive personality traits. In recent years, the Short Dark Triad (SD3; Jones & Paulhus, 2014) has become a popular measure for assessing the Dark Triad constructs. However, recent research has called the supposed dissimilarity between the Dark Triad constructs into question. In particular, theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that a distinction between Machiavellianism and psychopathy may not be tenable. In order to investigate this issue further, we analyzed the SD3 in a large sample (N = 1983) using Item Response Theory. We establish item response parameter estimates for each Dark Triad construct and further test whether the Dark Triad constructs can be modelled together. Results show that Machiavellianism and narcissism could not be modelled together, but the combinations Machiavellianism and psychopathy, and narcissism and psychopathy, yielded acceptable model fit. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of how the Dark Triad constructs may be interpreted and studied in the future.

Details

Authors
  • Björn N. Persson
  • Petri J. Kajonius
  • Danilo Garcia
External organisations
  • University of Skövde
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Blekinge County Council
  • Lund University
  • University College West
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology

Keywords

  • Dark Triad, Item Response Theory, Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume117
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 15
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes