Exploring the associations between dark triad personality and psychopathology in convicted offenders: Identifying their role in reincarceration

Dysfunctional personality and psychopathological characteristics are increasingly studied in offenders separately, but only a few studies have analysed their relationship in this specific population. In this research, we focus on the so-called Dark Triad personality, consisting of the Machiavellian, the narcissistic and the psychopathic personalities. The main objective of this study was to examine the association between Dark Triad personality and psychopathology and also to know the role of these mental health variables in recidivism. Participants were 63 offenders (44 men and 19 women) from two different penitentiary institutions. Sociodemographic data as well as clinical and personality characteristics were recorded. Psychopathology was assessed with the third version of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory and dark personality with the Short Dark Triad. Results of descriptive statistical analyses revealed a high prevalence of psychopathology in convicted participants and reincarcerated offenders. Correlational analyses showed a strong relation between the Dark Triad personality and psychopathology, being the psychopathic personality the one with the highest association. Finally, we found that the psychopathological variables contributing most to the discrimination of reincarcerated participants were substance and alcohol abuse disorders and in relation to dysfunctional personality were psychopathy and narcissism, the latter in negative direction. These data highlight the relevance of a necessity for research exploring long-term patterns of re-incarceration for both men and women, including mental health disorders and personality models. The importance of taking into account the relationship between variables in preventive and treatment interventions inside and outside penitentiary institutions is discussed ​
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