The role of dark personality traits in intimate partner violence: a multi-study investigation

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health issue defined by the infliction of physical, psychological, and/or sexual harm to a partner or spouse. Given its extreme health consequences, it is imperative that researchers better understand individual difference factors underlying IPV. The purpose of the following studies was to evaluate whether the Dark Tetrad of personality moderated relationships between participants’ and partners’ IPV perpetration. The first sample were 109 men and 290 women (age range = 17–33, Mage = 18.74, SDage = 1.84) recruited through the psychology participant pool at a Canadian university. Results showed that the relationships between participants’ and partners’ frequency of IPV varied depending on levels of Dark Tetrad traits. Participants in Study 2 were 153 men and 207 women recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (age range = 18–73, Mage = 34.39, SDage = 10.96). Results showed that being female, partner IPV perpetration severity, and Factor 2 psychopathy significantly increased odds of engaging in more severe IPV perpetration. Results from these studies could have implications for future implementation of appropriate interventions in the context of IPV perpetration. It is also important to implement better education on individual differences as mechanisms underlying IPV perpetration for society as a whole.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There were 2 additional participants who reported length of relationship numerically without recording whether the length was in months or years; these participants’ relationship lengths were not included.

  2. 2.

    Separate negative binomial regressions for men and women are reported in Supplemental Materials.

  3. 3.

    There were 18 additional participants who reported length of relationship numerically without recording whether the length was in months or years; these participants’ relationship lengths were not included.

  4. 4.

    There were only 45 valid results available for this item due to researcher error. Therefore, this finding cannot be used to generalize to the entire sample and should be interpreted with caution.

  5. 5.

    Separate ordinal logistic regressions for men and women are reported in Supplemental Materials.

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Availability of Data and Material

Data for both studies available at https://osf.io/ptwj4/

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Studies were partially funded by a Faculty of Social Sciences Graduate Research Award, University of Western Ontario, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship awarded to the first author.

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The first author was responsible for study conceptualization, data collection, data preparation, data analysis, and report writing. The second author was responsible for assistance with data coding and report writing. The third author was responsible for assistance with study conceptualization, data collection, and report writing.

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Correspondence to Rachel A. Plouffe.

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Plouffe, R.A., Wilson, C.A. & Saklofske, D.H. The role of dark personality traits in intimate partner violence: a multi-study investigation. Curr Psychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-00871-5

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Keywords

  • Dark tetrad
  • Personality
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Relationships
  • Individual differences