Dark triad traits and health outcomes: An exploratory study

Jasna Hudek-Knežević, Igor Kardum, Nermina Mehić

Abstract


On the sample of 637 participants (358 women and 279 men) we explored the relationshipbetween Dark Triad traits (psychopathy, Machiavellianism and Narcissism) and various healthindicators including subjective (positive and negative mood and perceived physical symptoms),protective health behaviors as well as some more objective health indicators (number ofhospitalizations, number of diseases, having specific chronic diseases, injuries and addictions).Because of the moderate relations between Dark Triad and broad personality traits that also exerttheir influence on various health-related indices, we examined the unique effects of Dark Triad traitson health indicators above and beyond five-factor personality traits as well as sociodemographicvariables related to health (gender, age and education).When sociodemographic variables, as well as five-factor personality traits were controlled inhierarchical regression analyses, Dark Triad traits significantly improved the prediction of almostall subjective health indicators, protective health behaviors, number of hospitalizations and numberof diseases. The effect sizes obtained were relatively low, and psychopathy was the most consistentpredictor.Regarding chronic diseases, injuries and addictions, the results of hierarchical binary logisticregressions showed that when sociodemographic variables were controlled, psychopathy was apositive predictor of the risk of digestive diseases, tobacco use and injuries, Machiavellianismnegatively predicted the risk of injuries, while Narcissism negatively predicted the risk of skindiseases and tobacco use. When five-factor personality traits were controlled, psychopathy was alsoa positive predictor of digestive diseases, tobacco use and injuries. Machiavellianism was a positivepredictor of high blood pressure, and negative predictor of cancer, spine and back diseases andinjuries, while Narcissism was a negative predictor of skin diseases.The results obtained are discussed in the context of possible mechanisms through which DarkTriad traits may exert negative, but also positive effects on various health outcomes.

Keywords


Dark Triad traits; five-factor personality traits; health; chronic diseases

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