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Item Response Analysis of the Short Dark Triad Questionnaire
Blekinge Center of Competence, Blekinge County Council, Karlskrona, Sweden Network for Empowerment and Well-Being, Lyckeby, Sweden Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 4Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden; Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Network for Empowerment and Well-Being, Lyckeby, Sweden; Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy, University of Skövde, Sweden.
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology. Network for Empowerment and Well-Being, Lyckeby, Sweden; Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 7Department of Social Psychology, University of Skövde, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0629-353X
2017 (English)In: ICPS 2017, International Convention of Psychological Science, Vienna, Austria, 23 - 25 March 2017, 2017Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We used Item Response Theory to analyze item functionality in the Short Dark Triad Questionnaire.The responses were less reliable when θ was less than 0, while most reliable when θ was 0-3. The one deviation from this pattern was narcissism, which showed stable reliability coefficients between -2 and 3.Supporting summary

Background: Character is defined as individuals’ goals and values or what people make of themselves intentionally. In this context, Dark Triad Theory suggests that malevolent human character comprises: Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism. These three dark traits are often measured using single long instruments for each one of the traits. Nevertheless, there is a necessity of short and valid personality measures in psychological research. We aimed to expand the understanding of one of the most popular short Dark Triad measures, namely the Short Dark Triad Questionnaire, using Item Response Theory to analyze item functionality.

Method: Participants (N = 1,487, nmales = 608, nfemales = 879) were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Mean age was 33.28, SD = 11.66. They received $0.50 as compensation for participating and only residents of the US were allowed to accept participation.

Results: We ran three separate unidimensional models, one for each of the dark character traits. Scale information curves revealed that the items deliver most information when θ levels are approximately between 0 and 3. Importantly, the information by the Machiavellianism items, and thus also reliability, substantially declines when θ is approximately 2. Reversed items tended to get the lowest alphas, with 4 out of 5 reversed items being in the bottom 7 items. Psychopathy and Machiavellianismitems had both highest and lowest alphas, whereas the narcissism items were more clustered in the middle. At the highest scale-step (b4), the items with the lowest discriminatory ability also showed more extreme difficulty, above 3 SD. The same trend could be seen at the lower end (b1). The items with the lowest discriminatory ability were more extreme, sometimes below 3 SD. Psychopathy items 2 and 7 and Machiavellianism items 1 and 4 stood out as weak items. These four items also had the lowest a-parameter estimates, further confirming their relatively weak characteristics. The betas for most of the psychopathy items imply that the items function the best for people above the mean on trait psychopathy, whereas both Machiavellianism and narcissism betas were more evenly distributed.

Conclusion: The Short Dark Triad is less reliable for low levels (i.e., when θ is less than 0) on the latent trait, especially for psychopathy. The reliability is highest when θ is between 0 and 3. The one deviation from this pattern is narcissism, which shows stable reliability coefficients (approximately.80) between -2 and 3 θ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Dark Triad; Item Response Theory; Short Dark Triad Questionnaire; Machiavellianism; Narcissism; Psychopathy.
National Category
Social Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-10411OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-10411DiVA, id: diva2:1059999
Conference
ICPS 2017, International Convention of Psychological Science, Vienna, Austria, 23 - 25 March 2017
Available from: 2016-12-27 Created: 2016-12-27 Last updated: 2019-01-10

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