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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relations between subjective well-being, psychopathy, and the NEO big five personality traits Love, Ashley Brett


Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by the manipulative use of others, callousness, shallow affect, lack of empathy, pathological lying, egocentricity, superficial charm, and impulsive behaviour. The present study investigated the relation between psychopathy and subjective well-being in 436 undergraduates. Subjective well-being was defined as high levels of positive affect and life satisfaction and low levels of negative affect. Participants rated their levels of subjective well-being using the Oxford Happiness Inventory, Satisfaction With Life Scale, Faces Scales (assessing both momentary and overall happiness), Subjective Happiness Scale, Scale of Eudaimonic Well-Being, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Psychopathy was assessed using two self report measures: The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scales (LSRP) and the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale III R-12 (SRP-III). Personality was measured using the 60 item NEO Five-Factor Inventory. Psychopathy was associated with high levels of depression and negative affect and low levels of life satisfaction, happiness, and positive affect. Scores on the two psychopathy measures (LSRP and SRP-III) accounted for significant portions of the variance in depression (16.6%), negative affect (18.5%), life satisfaction (13.8%), happiness (6.1-20%) and positive affect (11.3%). However, psychopathy failed to account for variance in these measures of well-being above and beyond the variance accounted for by the Big Five personality traits. These results are consistent with the position that personality disorders can be conceptualized as a constellation of extreme levels of normative personality traits. The factor structure of psychopathy was examined using confirmatory factor analysis and the data supported the two-factor model of psychopathy over the more recent four-factor model. This study represents one of the first attempts to investigate subjective well-being in individuals with psychopathy. Implications and directions for future research were also discussed.

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