Dishonesty in close relationships: the effect of the dark triad personality traits and adult attachment styles on the perceptions of infidelity

Özkul, Kemal
Although pair bonding is the hallmark of the humanity, infidelity is experienced in close relationships to a considerable extent (Blow & Hartnett, 2005b). The purpose of the present study is investigating the effect of adult attachment styles (i.e. anxious and avoidant attachment) and the Dark Triad personality traits (i.e. narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) on the perceptions of infidelity. In total, 377 individuals from various sociodemographic background, relationship status, and relationship duration participated in this study. In order to assess adult attachment styles of the participants, the Experiences in Close Relationships- Revised (ECR-R; Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000) was used. Moreover, Short Dark Triad (SD3; Jones & Paulhus, 2014) was used to assess personality traits. In addition, the assessment of how the participants perceive infidelity both for themselves and for their partners was done by using the Perceptions of Infidelity Scale (Schonian, 2013). The results of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that gender and age significantly predict how individuals perceive infidelity in the context of evaluating partner’s behaviors in all infidelity types. In addition, in terms of evaluating physical infidelity of partner, anxiously attached participants identify more behaviors as infidelity than avoidantly attached participants. Moreover, results regarding the Dark Triad personality traits revealed that psychopathy predicts the perceptions of infidelity within the context of emotional infidelity for oneself; physical, emotional, and online infidelity for partner.