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We examined how the Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) traits—as different social strategies—were associated with various health outcomes. In samples of American undergraduates (N = 1389), Australian high school students (N = 2023), and British undergraduates (N = 280), we examined the physical, social, and psychological costs associated with the Dark Triad traits. Narcissism was linked to few mental and physical ailments, suggesting it may provide a social buffer from negative health outcomes (Studies 1 and 2). Psychopathy (Studies 1 and 2) and Machiavellianism (Study 2) were linked to a number of psychological and physical health conditions. In addition, psychopathy was related to diminished life expectancy, whereas narcissism was related to enhanced life expectancy (Study 3). Our findings provide evidence that each of these personality traits is linked to various psychosocial tradeoffs and different methods of coping with stress and adaptive problems.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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