• Follow the Narcissist – Dark Triad Traits and Their Association to Involvement and Leadership on Campus

      Lau, Katherine; Le, Jennifer U.; Proux, Sydney (2022)
      The Dark Triad Traits (DTT); psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism; characterize selfish and antisocial people who are interpersonally manipulative and exploitative. They prioritize their own self-interests over others’ needs and have strong desires for power, respect, and dominance. Despite being primarily maladaptive, adaptive characteristics that make them more likely to achieve leadership positions include assertiveness, charisma, boldness, and low anxiety (Lilienfield, 2015; Vergauwe, 2021; Galvin et al., 2010; Kessler et al., 2010). These adaptive traits facilitate excelling in group-oriented occupational settings like police departments (Falkenbach et al., 2017), corporations (Babiak, Neuman, & Hare, 2010), and the military (Harms, Sprain, & Hannah, 2011). The purpose of the present study is to examine the unique associations between DTT with involvement in campus activities and leadership positions. Based on prior research (Jonason et al., 2016), we hypothesize that psychopathy and Machiavellianism will be negatively correlated with campus involvement, whereas narcissism will be positively correlated with involvement. We also hypothesize that psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism will be positively correlated with leadership, due to their shared adaptive interpersonal skills of charm. Lastly, we hypothesize that after controlling for shared characteristics, psychopathy and Machiavellianism will independently negatively predict involvement, whereas narcissism will positively predict involvement; and all DTT will independently positively predict leadership. Participants were a sample of 419 undergraduates (82.6% white, 70.6% female), ranging in age from 18 to 35 (M = 19.21) from a northeastern university. Participants completed self-report questionnaires. To measure the dark triad, the Short Dark Triad (Jones & Paulhus, 2014) was used. To measure campus involvement and leadership positions, the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (Zhao, 2002) was used. Results showed that Machiavellianism and narcissism scores independently predicted campus involvement. In contrast, psychopathy scores independently predicted less campus involvement. Results also showed that narcissism and Machiavellianism scores independently predicted greater reports of being in leadership positions, whereas psychopathy was not associated with leadership. These findings support Machiavellian and narcissistic desires to become engaged in and dominate organizations on their undergraduate campuses to fuel needs of control and acclaim (Packer et al., 2021), whereas psychopathy does not significantly correlate with involvement or leadership. Unsurprisingly, psychopathy uniquely predicts lower rates of taking part in campus extracurricular activities, possibly due to its impulsive nature sabotaging efficient collaboration with other members within these campus clubs or teams (Neo et al., 2016).
    • Intimate Partner Violence in College Relationships

      Lau, Katherine; Sumner, Amanda L.; Le, Jennifer U.; Proux, Sydney; Kinne, Grace M.; Pavia, Gillian H. (2022)
      In the United States, 17-39% of couples report experiencing interpersonal violence annually (Caetano et al., 2008). Intimate partner violence (IPV) is broadly defined as the psychological, physical, or sexual victimization of a partner within an intimate relationship (Edwards & Slyaska, 2015). Recently, a growing rate of adolescents have reported experiencing IPV (Edwards & Slyaska, 2015). Thirty-seven percent of adolescents reported experiencing dating violence within the past year, and retrospectively, 69% of adults reported having experienced dating violence during adolescence (Taylor & Mumford, 2016). Similar problems have been reported in colleges; a third of students have reported experiencing either sexual or physical IPV (Scherer et al., 2014). Although adult females typically report experiencing IPV at a greater rate than adult males, one-in-three males report experiencing IPV victimization over the course of their life (Machado, 2020). The experience of IPV and its consequences are not a short-lived event. Among adults, perpetrators and victims of IPV report experiencing significant long-lasting psychological distress, such as depression, powerlessness, and PTSD (Caetano et al., 2008; Overstreet et al., 2015). IPV victimization in women has been associated with a greater likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted infections, HIV (Overstreet et al., 2015), and cardiovascular disease. This could be due to sexual exploitation experienced by victims of IPV, and engaging in other high-risk behaviors, like poor diet, exercise, and smoking (Campbell et al., 2008; Halpern et al., 2017). Research in young college adults found similar results. In a longitudinal study, compared to those who didn’t experience IPV, college students who experienced IPV, reported experiencing an increase in eating disorders, depressive symptoms, smoking, and having an overall decline in health (Bonomi, 2013). Lastly, 27-56% of IPV victims report revictimization, or getting into multiple abusive relationships (Iverson et al., 2013). Although it’s important to understand the consequences of IPV, it’s necessary to understand what factors may lead to IPV. The first goal of the ongoing study is to investigate what factors may be associated with the risk of becoming involved in a violent relationship. In a large systematic review on female victims of IPV (Pereira et al., 2020), factors such as family identity and expectations, reinforcement of gender roles, and social class and education levels were associated with remaining in violent relationships (Iverson et al., 2013). Further, witnessing or experiencing first-hand abuse during childhood has been linked to experiencing later IPV (Pereira et al., 2020). A possible explanation for this is intergenerational violence; household abuse may become accepted and normalized within the family unit. These dynamics may create feelings of self-blame, low self-esteem, and anxiety as well as contribute to the future minimization of violent behaviors and increase commitment to relationships characterized by violence (Pereira et al., 2020). We are also investigating these factors in how they specifically relate to male victims and their susceptibility to remaining in violent relationships, as they comprise an estimated 35% of IPV victims, but remain significantly underreported and insufficiently supported within communities due to stigma and speculation (Machado et al., 2017).
    • Parenting Styles and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

      Lau, Katherine; Pavia, Gillian H.; Sumner, Amanda; Le, Jennifer U.; Kinne, Grace M.; Garcia, Jonathan (2022)
      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Individuals with ADHD often also experience difficulties with low frustration tolerance, irritability, and mood lability (Sobanski et al., 2010). ADHD can be a debilitating disorder that interferes with functioning and development. For example, studies have shown that by early adulthood, individuals with ADHD have an increased risk of substance use problems, developing mood disorders, and attempting suicide (Cabral et al., 2020). Patterns and dynamics of family interactions during early childhood may influence the course of the disorder and can contribute to the further development of associated problems. Children with ADHD have family relationships that are often characterized by strife, tension, and negative interactions (APA, 2013). Given this, a popular topic of study surrounding ADHD is different parenting styles and their associations with manifestations of ADHD. For example, in a study of children and adolescents with and without ADHD, authoritarian parenting styles were associated with poorer executive functioning skills among the children with ADHD than the control group (Hutchison et al., 2016). In another study, young adults with ADHD compared with young adults without ADHD, reported experiencing significantly higher levels of maternal authoritarian parenting as children (Stevens et al., 2018). An authoritarian parenting style is characterized by high levels of coercive control and parental demandingness, and low levels of parental warmth and behavioral control (Gafor et al., 2014). However, there is still a lack of research regarding which specific components of authoritarian parenting contribute to a more severe pathology of ADHD during young adulthood. Coercive control is characterized by pressure, intrusion, domination, and discouragement of a child’s independence and individuality, and behavioral control refers to the disciplining, demandingness, and monitoring of a child’s activities by a parent. (Sleddens et al., 2014). This study examines coercive and behavioral control in relation to ADHD symptoms in emerging adults. It is important to understand what specific components of parenting are most associated with high levels of ADHD symptomatology in order to help prevent further difficulties for people with ADHD during young adulthood.
    • The Reactive Vulnerable Narcissist and the Complex Relationship between Narcissism and Aggression

      Lau, Katherine; Proux, Sydney; Le, Jennifer U. (2022)
      The purpose of this study is to examine how vulnerable and grandiose narcissism are uniquely related to the four subtypes of aggression. Narcissism is characterized by an exceptional sense of entitlement, grandiosity, and lack of empathy (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Narcissism is often associated with aggression. One theory to explain the relationship between narcissism and aggression is the theory of threatened egotism (Baumeister et al., 2000) which proposes aggression as a method of defending one’s highly favorable view of the self against someone who seeks to undermine that view. Narcissism can be divided into two subtypes: grandiose and vulnerable. Grandiose narcissism (GN) refers to individuals with high self-esteem who tend to be entitled, outgoing, and charismatic (Du et al., 2021). In contrast, vulnerable narcissism (VN) refers to individuals with low self-esteem who are egocentric andhave a strong sense of entitlement. People with VN tend to have more avoidant interpersonal styles than GN. Aggression is violent or hostile behavior directed towards others (Tedeschi & Felson, 1994), and places a high cost on society (Stattin & Magnusson, 1989). Aggression has two functions. Proactive aggression is the purposeful use of harm to accomplish a goal. Reactive aggression differs as it is retaliatory behavior resulting from frustration or perceived provocation. Aggression can also take on two forms. Overt aggression includes direct physical and verbal harm towards another, while relational aggression is the intent to harm another person's social standing or reputation through emotionally manipulative tactics, such as exclusion or spreading rumors (Rose et al., 2004; Werner & Crick, 1999). The combinations of these create four unique subtypes of aggression, proactive relational (PR), proactive overt (PO), reactive relational (RR), and reactive overt (RO). Although aggression and narcissism have been examined, few studies have looked at the four subtypes of aggression and their unique relationships to GN and VN. We hypothesize that VN will be positively correlated with RO and RR aggression. This is because low self-esteem and sense of entitlement, which define VN, may cause people to be easily offended and responsive to potential threats. Our second hypothesis is that we expect a positive association between GN and PO and PR aggression. Grandiose narcissists may use proactive aggression in the pursuit of goals and in the attainment of power. Regression analyses were used to test the associations between the subtypes of narcissism and aggression. Results indicated that grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism were both uniquely associated with proactive relational, proactive overt, reactive relational, and reactive overt aggression. Results also showed a differential pattern of associations, with GN having a stronger association to proactive subtypes and VN having a stronger association to reactive subtypes of aggression.