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30-06-2017 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2017

Measures of Psychopathology Characterized by Dominance: Articulating their Structure and Relations with Personality and Other Psychopathology

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2017
Kasey Stanton, Patrick Cruitt, Ana Kent, Sara M. Stasik-O’Brien, Stephanie Ellickson-Larew, David Watson


Mania, narcissism, antisocial personality disorder/psychopathy, and substance use (including alcohol use) disorders have been linked through the dominance behavioral system, a biologically based system guiding dominant behavior and responses to perceptions of power (Johnson et al. 2012). We examined the structure and correlates of measures of psychopathology linked to dominance in two studies utilizing student (N = 309) and mixed community/outpatient samples (N = 255), the latter of which incorporated multi-method assessment. Results indicated that grandiose narcissism and some mania-relevant measures are defined by overlapping positive emotionality content (e.g., seeking acclaim, feeling fearless) that shows strong relations with traits related to dominance (e.g., assertiveness, immodesty). Antisocial trait measures also were linked to dominance to some degree, although less strongly than indicators of mania and narcissism. Lastly, even though substance use indicators overlap with other measures of psychopathology showing more substantial relations to dominance, these measures were weakly related to dominance-related traits. These results establish an important and novel connection between grandiose narcissism and mania-relevant measures via their assessment of dominance. Furthermore, results indicate that substance use measures do not assess dominant attitudes and behaviors. However, the extent to which antisocial traits are defined by dominance is less clear, especially given that these studies did not incorporate assessment of social boldness, a construct central to some conceptualizations of psychopathy (Patrick et al. 2009).

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