The Dark Triad, happiness and subjective well-being

VE Egan, S Chan, Gillian W Shorter

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Narcissism can be expressed in grandiose or vulnerable forms. We examined whether positive psychological states (defined by the Oxford Happiness Inventory (OHI) and the Diener Satisfaction With Life (SWL) scales) assisted differentiation relative to general personality traits and the “the Dark Triad” (psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism, measured by the D12 and Short Dark Triad (SD3) indices) for 840 persons primarily from the UK, USA and Canada. The best fitting structural equation model comprised two latent variables, one of positive mood (comprising total scores on the OHI and SWL scales), and another forming a “dark dyad” of Machiavellianism and psychopathy (predicted by low agreeableness and lower positive mood), with narcissism regarded as a separate construct correlated with the dark dyad. Latent positive mood was primarily predicted by higher emotional stability and extraversion. Narcissism was predicted by lower emotional stability, lower agreeableness, and higher extraversion. Latent profile analysis identified four groups in the data: “unhappy but not narcissistic”, “vulnerable narcissism”, “happy non-narcissism” and “grandiose narcissism”. Our results suggest more problematic narcissism can be identified by reference to measures indexing positive mood states and general personality traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date27 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2014


  • Dark Triad
  • Happiness
  • Subjective well-being
  • Psychopathy
  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellianism
  • Five factor model
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Latent variable modelling


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