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The dark triad in male and female athletes and non-athletes: Group differences and psychometric properties of the short dark triad (SD3)

Vaughan, Robert; Madigan, Daniel; Carter, Gregory; Nicholls, Adam

Authors

Robert Vaughan

Daniel Madigan

Gregory Carter

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Professor Adam Nicholls A.Nicholls@hull.ac.uk
Professor of Psychology/ Leader of the Sport Psychology and Coaching Group



Abstract

Objectives: The Short Dark Triad (SD3) is a popular, brief measure of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, which are known as the Dark Triad. The present study had two aims. First, to assess the psychometric properties of the SD3 with a focus on measurement invariance across gender, athletic expertise, and sport type. Second, to examine differences in Dark Triad scores across these groups.
Design: Cross-sectional.
Method: In total, 1258 participants (625 women; mean age 23.47 years 625 women) with a range of athletic experience (non-athletes, N = 408; amateur, N = 557; elite, N = 293) from team (N = 577) and individual (N = 273) sport completed the SD3. Factorial validity was assessed using exploratory structural equation modelling.
Results: Findings supported the reliability of the measure with acceptable internal consistency across total and subscale scores. Analyses indicated that the three-factor model provided adequate fit, however, a bifactor model provided superior fit to the data. Moreover, invariance testing suggested some inconsistency in the observed factor structures across groups. In addition, findings indicated group differences with men scoring higher than women, athletes with greater expertise scoring higher than those with fewer expertise, and individual athletes scoring higher than team athletes.
Conclusions: We suggest that researchers continue to use the SD3, but recommend caution when interpreting subscale scores among women and team athletes until further psychometric work has been conducted within these populations.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2019-07
Print ISSN 1469-0292
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Pages 64-72
APA6 Citation Vaughn, R., Madigan, D., Carter, G., & Nicholls, A. (2019). The dark triad in male and female athletes and non-athletes: Group differences and psychometric properties of the short dark triad (SD3). Psychology of sport and exercise, 43, 64-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.01.002
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.01.002
Keywords Gender; Machiavellianism; Narcissism; Psychopathy; Psychometrics
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1469029218304771