The Dark Empath: Characterising dark traits in the presence of empathy

Heym, N., Kibowski, F., Bloxsom, C., Blanchard, A., Harper, A., Wallace, L., Firth, J. and Sumich, A. (2020) The Dark Empath: Characterising dark traits in the presence of empathy. Personality and Individual Differences. ISSN 0191-8869

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A novel psychological construct characterised by high empathy and dark traits: the Dark Empath (DE) is identified and described relative to personality, aggression, dark triad (DT) facets and wellbeing. Participants (n= 991) were assessed for narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, cognitive empathy and affective empathy. Sub-cohorts also completed measures of (i) personality (BIG5), indirect interpersonal aggression (n = 301); (ii) DT facets of vulnerable and grandiose narcissism, primary and secondary psychopathy and Machiavellianism (n = 285); and (iii) wellbeing (depression, anxiety, stress, anhedonia, self-compassion; n = 240). Latent profile analysis identified a four-class solution comprising the traditional DT (n = 128; high DT, low empathy), DE (n = 175; high DT, high empathy), Empaths (n =357; low DT, high empathy) and Typicals (n= 331; low DT, average empathy). DT and DE were higher in aggression and DT facets, and lower in agreeableness than Typicals and Empaths. DE had higher extraversion and agreeableness, and lower aggression than DT. DE and DT did not differ in grandiose and vulnerable DT facets, but DT showed lower wellbeing. The DE is less aggressive and shows better wellbeing than DT, but partially maintains an antagonistic core, despite having high extraversion. The presence of empathy did not increase risk of vulnerability in the DE.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Alyson Blanchard
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2020 09:05
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2020 09:05

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