Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 4-2016

Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Richard Beck

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Cherisse Flanagan

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Robert McKelvain


Though relationships between empathy, impulsivity, and personality traits making up the Dark Tetrad of personality have been studied individually, the relationship of empathy and impulsivity to the Dark Tetrad of personality simultaneously has not been studied. The current study examined the relationship of both empathy and impulsivity to the Dark Tetrad simultaneously, and assessed specific combinations of traits, empathy, and impulsivity. Participants from a private university completed online surveys. Correlations and predictions of variables were examined. Individuals who rated high on Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism had significantly lower scores on empathy subscales, and individuals rating high on these as well as narcissism had significantly high scores on impulsivity subscales. Results also indicated that psychopathy and sadism both predicted lack of empathy, while only sadism significantly predicted poor impulse control. Surprisingly, narcissism was positively correlated with, and predictive of empathy. Overall, it was found that the combination of psychopathy and sadism simultaneously could result in particularly dangerous outcomes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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