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The "vulnerable" dark triad, part 2

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The authors suggest that another dark triad be formed that takes accounts of those whose dark traits coexist with emotionally vulnerable traits. Such a triad includes not only the interpersonal antagonism that predicts low agreeableness, but emotional dysregulation and negative emotionality associated with the trait of neuroticism. They believe that this second triad includes personality disorders such as secondary psychopathy, vulnerable narcissism and borderline personality disorder.

Secondary psychopathy reflects high degrees of F2, as opposed to F1, factors. That is, it refers less to the interpersonal-affective tendencies of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (which includes lack of remorse or guilt, lying and grandiosity, as the authors note) and more to F2 factors which include behavioral problems and impulse-control problems. They note studies which suggest that high Factor 1 levels predict for agreeableness (compared to other 'dark' subtypes) and conscientiousness, whereas high Factor 2 levels are negatively correlated with conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion, and positively correlated with neuroticism.

They note that high levels of psychopathy and Machiavellianism tend to be associated with NPD, and that this is most likely the case because F1 refers primarily to antagonistic interpersonal style whereas F2 includes antagonistic interpersonal lifestyle as well as negative emotionality and disinhibition. F1 psychopathy tends to be more related to NPD, they point out, whereas F2 psychopathy has more overlap with antisocial perosnality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Next, they take issue with the tendency towards the DSM-IV to disregard the heterogeneity within narcissism. The manual focuses on entitlement, aggression, dominance and grandiosity, they note, which is correlated with extraversion/dominance and disagreeableness. But this does not capture all narcissists. There are vulnerable narcissists, whose personality traits reflect a tendency to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. The authors describe such traits as "defensive" and "fragile." Grandiosity in such persons has more to do with an attempt to counteract feelings of worthlessness, rather than an unreflective belief in one's own entitlement and importance.

Joshua D. Miller, Ally Dir, Brittany Gentile, Lauren Wilson, Lauren R. Pryor, and W. Keith Campbell. Searching for a Vulnerable Dark Triad: Comparing Factor 2 Psychopathy, Vulnerable Narcissism, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved from: http://wkeithcampbell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/VulnerableDarkTriad...