The Psychology of Spite and the Measurement of Spitefulness

Psychological Assessment (Impact Factor: 2.99). 02/2014; 26(2). DOI: 10.1037/a0036039
Source: PubMed


Spite is an understudied construct that has been virtually ignored within the personality, social, and clinical psychology literatures. This study introduces a self-report Spitefulness Scale to assess individual differences in spitefulness. The scale was initially tested on a large sample of 946 college students and cross-validated on a national sample of 297 adults. The scale was internally consistent in both samples. Factor analysis supported a 1-factor solution for the initial pool of 31 items. Item response theory analysis was used to identify the best performing of the original 31 items in the university sample and reduce the scale to 17 items. Tests of measurement invariance indicated that the items functioned similarly across both university and national samples, across both men and women, and across both ethnic majority and minority groups. Men reported higher levels of spitefulness than women, younger people were more spiteful than older people, and ethnic minority members reported higher levels of spitefulness than ethnic majority members. Across both samples, spitefulness was positively associated with aggression, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism, and guilt-free shame, and negatively correlated with self-esteem, guilt-proneness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Ideally, this Spitefulness Scale will be able to predict behavior in both laboratory settings (e.g., ultimatum games, aggression paradigms) and everyday life, contribute to the diagnosis of personality disorders and oppositional defiant disorder, and encourage further study of this neglected, often destructive, trait. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

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    • "Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with the items using scales that ranged from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). The Spitefulness Scale has been shown to possess adequate psychometric properties (e.g., Marcus et al., 2014) and the internal consistency for this instrument was .90 in the present study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous reports have painted a complex picture of the associations between dark personality features and emotion dysregulation. To provide a more comprehensive picture, 532 college students completed measures of dark personality features-the Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism), sadism, and spitefulness-and emotion dysregulation. We found that the grandiose and leadership facets of narcissism were negatively associated with various aspects of emotion dysregulation. In contrast, spitefulness, the callous aspect of psychopathy, and Machiavellianism were positively associated with some aspects of emotion dysregulation. Sadism was not associated with emotion dysregulation. The implications of these results for the understanding of dark personality features are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
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    • "Right-wing authoritarianism is characterized by submission to authority figures, aggression toward members of out-groups, and strict adherence to social conventions (e.g., Altemeyer, 1981, 1996). The construct of spitefulness was recently introduced to the psychology literature and is characterized by the willingness to incur self-harm in order to inflict costs on another individual (Marcus et al., 2014). Finally, the PID-5 was recently developed in order to capture a broad spectrum of pathological personality dimensions that include negative affect (i.e., the tendency to experience an array of negative emotions), detachment (i.e., characterized by introversion, social isolation, and anhedonia), antagonism (i.e., aggressive tendencies accompanied by assertions of dominance and grandiosity), disinhibition (i.e., impulsivity and sensation seeking), and psychoticism (i.e., a disconnection from reality and a tendency for illogical thought patterns; Krueger et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated whether a range of dark personality features including the Dark Tetrad, right-wing authoritarianism, spitefulness, and the pathological personality features captured by the PID-5 possessed similar interpersonal content. Participants were 586 undergraduates (456 women) who completed measures of dark personality and interpersonal style. Dark personality features were projected onto a trait measure of the interpersonal circumplex and results revealed that dark personality features had similar interpersonal content and occupied interpersonal space representing arrogant, manipulative, cold, and hostile interpersonal styles. Two exceptions to this pattern were NPI leadership/authority (located in the Assured-Dominant [PA] octant) and PID-5 negative affect (located in the Unassured-Submissive [HI] octant). Findings are discussed in the context of interpersonal similarities and differences of a variety of dark personality features.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
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    • "Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with the items of the Spitefulness Scale using scales that ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The Spitefulness Scale has been shown to possess adequate psychometric properties (e.g., Marcus et al., 2014) and the internal consistency for this instrument was .91 in the present study. "
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    ABSTRACT: a b s t r a c t The relationship between spitefulness and an individual's sense of morality or lack thereof has been neglected in studies of personality. It seems probable that individuals with higher levels of spitefulness exhibit fewer moral concerns relative to those with lower levels of spite. To examine associations between spitefulness and moral concerns, 436 community participants completed self-report measures concerning their spitefulness, basic personality dimensions, and moral concerns. Spitefulness was nega-tively associated with individualizing values (i.e., sensitivity to harm and fairness) such that spiteful indi-viduals were less concerned about issues related to avoiding harm or injustice to others when making moral judgments. However, spitefulness was not simply associated with a general reduction in moral concerns as it was not significantly associated with binding values (i.e., concerns about ingroup loyalty, authority, and purity).
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Personality and Individual Differences
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