Country-level correlates of the Dark Triad traits in 49 countries

Peter K. Jonason, Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska, Jarosław Piotrowski, Constantine Sedikides, W. Keith Campbell, Jochen E. Gebauer, John Maltby, Mladen Adamovic, Byron G. Adams, Anissa Lestari Kadiyono, Kokou A. Atitsogbe, Harshalini Y. Bundhoo, Sergiu Bălțătescu, Snežana Bilić, Joel Gruneau Brulin, Phatthanakit Chobthamkit, Alejandra Del Carmen Dominguez, Sonya Dragova-Koleva, Sofián El-Astal, Carla Sofia EstevesWalaa Labib M. Eldesoki, Valdiney V. Gouveia, Katherine Gundolf, Dzintra Ilisko, Emanuel Jauk, Shanmukh V. Kamble, Narine Khachatryan, Martina Klicperova-Baker, Emil Knezovic, Monika Kovacs, Xuejun Lei, Kadi Liik, Agim Mamuti, Carlos Rodrigo Moreta-Herrera, Taciano L. Milfont, Chin Wei Ong, Evgeny Osin, Joonha Park, Boban Petrovic, Jano Ramos-Diaz, Goran Ridic, Abdul Qadir, Adil Samekin, Artur Sawicki, Habib Tiliouine, Robert Tomsik, Charles S. Umeh, Kees van den Bos, Alain Van Hiel, Osman Uslu, Anna Wlodarczyk, Illia Yahiiaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objectives: The Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) capture individual differences in aversive personality to complement work on other taxonomies, such as the Big Five traits. However, the literature on the Dark Triad traits relies mostly on samples from English-speaking (i.e., Westernized) countries. We broadened the scope of this literature by sampling from a wider array of countries. Method: We drew on data from 49 countries (N = 11,723; 65.8% female; AgeMean = 21.53) to examine how an extensive net of country-level variables in economic status (e.g., Human Development Index), social relations (e.g., gender equality), political orientations (e.g., democracy), and cultural values (e.g., embeddedness) relate to country-level rates of the Dark Triad traits, as well as variance in the magnitude of sex differences in them. Results: Narcissism was especially sensitive to country-level variables. Countries with more embedded and hierarchical cultural systems were more narcissistic. Also, sex differences in narcissism were larger in more developed societies: Women were less likely to be narcissistic in developed (vs. less developed) countries. Conclusions: We discuss the results based on evolutionary and social role models of personality and sex differences. That higher country-level narcissism was more common in less developed countries, whereas sex differences in narcissism were larger in more developed countries, is more consistent with evolutionary than social role models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1267
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

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© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Dark Triad
  • Machiavellianism
  • cross-cultural
  • cultural values
  • narcissism
  • psychopathy


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