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09-02-2019 | Uitgave 8/2019 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2019

Disengaging from Evil: Longitudinal Associations Between the Dark Triad, Moral Disengagement, and Antisocial Behavior in Adolescence

Tijdschrift:
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 8/2019
Auteurs:
Jelle J. Sijtsema, Carlo Garofalo, Kim Jansen, Theo A. Klimstra
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-019-00519-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Previous work has identified important correlational linkages between the dark triad of personality (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) and antisocial behavior in adolescence. However, little is known about the longitudinal associations between these personality characteristics and antisocial behavior, and the processes underlying these linkages. We hypothesized positive bidirectional associations between the dark triad and antisocial behavior, and that increases in moral disengagement would underlie these longitudinal associations. In the current study, we examined these hypotheses in 502 Dutch adolescents (51.8% boys, Mage = 13.57, SD = 1.07) across three annual waves. Path models showed that antisocial behavior was positively associated with relative increases in moral disengagement, a general dark personality factor, and Machiavellianism specifically, but not the other way around. These paths were only observed in boys and more pronounced during the first year of the study. Finally, antisocial behavior was partly indirectly associated to psychopathy across time via antisocial behavior and moral disengagement at a later time point. Together, these findings suggest that dark personality characteristics and moral disengagement development are more likely to be the result of changes in antisocial behavior than the other way around.

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