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Dark Triad traits, learning styles, and symptoms of depression: Assessing the contribution of mental toughness longitudinally

Denovan, A, Dagnall, N ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0657-7604, Artamonova, E and Papageorgiou, KA (2021) Dark Triad traits, learning styles, and symptoms of depression: Assessing the contribution of mental toughness longitudinally. Learning and Individual Differences: journal of psychology and education, 91. ISSN 1041-6080

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Abstract

This study, using a semi-longitudinal design, explored the extent to which Dark Triad traits indirectly (through mental toughness) predicted learning styles (i.e., deep, strategic, and surface learning) and depression symptoms. First year undergraduates (N = 100 matched at two-time intervals; 17 males, 83 females; mean age = 19.02, range = 18 to 24) completed self-report questionnaires at the beginning of the academic year and the start of the second term. Mediation analysis revealed that narcissism contributed indirectly to reduced surface learning, increased strategic learning, and lower symptoms of depression. Psychopathy and Machiavellianism were neither indirectly associated with learning styles nor depression symptoms. These findings have important applied implications. Specifically, they indicate that features of narcissism are beneficial to mental health and learning outcomes. These results also highlight the need for further research to identify ways to promote the adaptive vs. maladaptive features of Dark Triad traits in education.

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