University of Tasmania
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The dark tetrad and depressive symptoms : exploring the role of rumination

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posted on 2023-05-26, 00:15 authored by Tracy, RP
Psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sadism comprise the Dark Tetrad; a group of socially aversive, non-clinical personality traits characterised by callousness, dishonesty, and manipulation. Psychopathy has been further differentiated into primary and secondary psychopathy, while two variants of narcissism, grandiose and vulnerable, have also been identified. Few studies have investigated the mental health correlates of the dark traits, thus the current study examined the relationship between the Dark Tetrad and depression, and explored the role of rumination in this relationship. Two subtypes of rumination were considered: brooding and reflection. The sample comprised 316 individuals aged between 18 and 68 years, 53.8% of whom were members of the community while 46.2% were current university students. Participants completed an anonymous online survey, with a cross-sectional, correlational design. Results largely supported the hypotheses, indicating that the dark traits fall along a continuum of depressive symptoms. Vulnerable narcissism and secondary psychopathy were shown to significantly predict higher depression levels, while grandiose narcissism was significantly connected to lower depression scores. Rumination was found to moderate the relationship between the Dark Tetrad and depression, however this was only the case for the brooding subtype. This research indicated that dark personality traits likely influence the selection and use of coping strategies, such as rumination, and illustrated the impact this can have on depressive symptoms. Further exploration of these connections would offer a greater understanding of socially aversive behaviours and how individuals with these traits function in the world, with implications for existing models of personality and psychopathology.


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Copyright 2017 the author

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  • Open

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