Vulnerable Dark Triad  

Similarities in Environmental Etiological Factors

Developmentally, all three forms of personality pathology re either  theoretically or empirically associated with negative child hood events such as poorer parenting (less warmth and supervision;greater psychological intrusiveness) and childhood sexual, physical,or emotional abuse or neglect (e.g., Battle et al., 2004; Horton,Bleau, & Drwecki, 2006; Poythress, Skeem, & Lilienfeld, 2006).These etiological factors fit with Linehan’s (1993) definition of in invalidating environment, which is thought to be central to the development of BPD. Linehan argued that invalidating environments are those in which there is a ‘‘communication of private  experiences’’ that are ‘‘met by erratic, inappropriate, and extreme 1534  Miller, Dir, Gentile, et al. responses,’’ and she includes childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse, as the ‘‘prototypical’’ invalidating environment (p. 49). Linehan suggests that these environments fail to teach children how to label and regulate their emotions and tolerate distress and frustration, while at the same time encouraging ‘‘extreme emotional displays’’ to provoke and elicit the expected response from the environment (p. 51).

Similarities in Current Functioning

All three members of the putative VDT manifest significant relations with a host of internalizing symptoms and disorders, such as anxiety and depression, as well as behavioral indicators of distress, such as suicidality (Pincus et al., 2009; Verona et al., 2005; Wink, 1991).For example, Wink found that vulnerable narcissism was substantially negatively correlated with self-reports of psychological well-being (r 5 .67) and psychological adjustment (  .33). Where as at least some members of the DT are negatively associated with negative affect and emotions and positively associated with self-esteem (i.e., grandiose narcissism; Miller & Campbell, 2008; Sedikides, Rudich, Gregg, Kumashiro, & Rusbult, 2004), the reverse appears to be the case for the VDT. The VDT members are  associated with higher negative affect and lower self-esteem (Pincuset al., 2009; Wink, 1991; Witt & Donnellan, 2008; Zeigler-Hill &Abraham, 2006).Both vulnerable narcissism and BPD are related to pathological adult attachment styles, such as an anxious or fearful attachment(Dickinson& Pincus, 2003;Otway &Vignoles, 2006; BPD:Mauricio,Tein, & Lopez, 2007; Meyer, Pilkonis, & Beevers, 2004). Less research exists that has examined the relations between psychopahy and specific attachment styles. Kosson, Cyterski, Steuerwald,Neumann, and Walker-Matthews (2002) found that psychopathy scores were significantly negatively related to ratings of closeness to family in a sample of adolescent males. Similarly, Frodi, Dernevik,Sepa, Philipson, and Bragesjo (2001) found that psychopathic offenders were most commonly classified as having a dismissive attachment style. Unfortunately, these relations have not been examined separately by the psychopathy factors. In a review of the extant literature, Salteris (2002) noted that individuals with antisocial personality disorder and those who commit violent crimes (vs. property 
crimes) tend to manifest insecure and extremely disturbed attachments. In terms of adult attachment styles, one might hypothesize that Factor 1 psychopathy would be significantly related to a dismissive attachment style (high avoidance, low anxiety), whereas Factor 2 psychopathy might be related to a fearful attachment style(high avoidance, high anxiety), which would be consistent with BPD and vulnerable narcissism.
Finally, both Factor 2 psychopathy and BPD have been associated with a number of externalizing behaviors such as substance use/abuse, aggression, and antisocial behavior (e.g., Feske, Tarter, Kirisci, & Pilkonis, 2006; Neumann & Hare, 2008; Stuart, Moore,Gordon, Ramsey, & Kahler, 2006). Because of the small literature on vulnerable narcissism, its relations with externalizing behaviors like aggression are less clear (e.g., Pincus et al., 2009; Wink, 1991),although we would expect smaller effect sizes, in part, due to the lack of substantial deficits in constraint/disinhibition.

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