The role of dark personality traits in intimate partner violence: a multi-study investigation

Rachel A. Plouffe (Lead / Corresponding author), Claire A. Wilson, Donald H. Saklofske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health issue defined by the infliction of physical, psychological, and/or sexual harm to a partner or spouse. Given its extreme health consequences, it is imperative that researchers better understand individual difference factors underlying IPV. The purpose of the following studies was to evaluate whether the Dark Tetrad of personality moderated relationships between participants’ and partners’ IPV perpetration. The first sample were 109 men and 290 women (age range = 17–33, Mage = 18.74, SDage = 1.84) recruited through the psychology participant pool at a Canadian university. Results showed that the relationships between participants’ and partners’ frequency of IPV varied depending on levels of Dark Tetrad traits. Participants in Study 2 were 153 men and 207 women recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (age range = 18–73, Mage = 34.39, SDage = 10.96). Results showed that being female, partner IPV perpetration severity, and Factor 2 psychopathy significantly increased odds of engaging in more severe IPV perpetration. Results from these studies could have implications for future implementation of appropriate interventions in the context of IPV perpetration. It is also important to implement better education on individual differences as mechanisms underlying IPV perpetration for society as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3481-3500
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date20 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Dark tetrad
  • Individual differences
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Personality
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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