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2.15 PM - 3.45 PM

Hot Topics: Session 4 

Destined for The Dark Side? Early Maladaptive Schemas as Predictors of Dark Triad Traits and Workplace Dysfunction

by Simone Ray


Dysfunctional workplace behaviour is often studied with regard to the Dark Triad (DT) traits: Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Although the link between the DT and dysfunctional workplace outcomes is clear, there is little understanding about underlying determinants. This PhD project addresses this research gap by investigating the Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS) of those with DT traits in the workplace.

The Schema-Focused (SF) Model of Occupational Stress and Workplace Dysfunctions (Bamber & Price, 2006) proposes two main hypotheses. First, we are unconsciously drawn to occupations that mimic the early environment which created our EMS, and subsequently re-enact our EMS and maladaptive coping styles. Second, those with rigid and severe EMS are vulnerable to occupational stress and workplace dysfunctions. This project aims to test the SF model’s hypotheses, as applied to the DT, through three cross-sectional survey design studies.

Study one aimed to apply Schema Theory to the DT traits in a working sample (N = 207) by administering the YSQ-S3 and several DT measures. Study two, currently in its analysis phase, aimed to test the SF model’s first hypothesis by administrating the YPI-R2, YSQ-S3, and DT measures to a working sample from various occupations. Study three aims to administer the YSQ-S3, DT measures, and the CWB-C, a measure of dysfunctional workplace behaviour, to test the SF model’s second hypothesis.

Study one regression analyses revealed that almost all DT traits were predicted by the Entitlement/Grandiosity schema, whereas the Approval/Recognition seeking schema predicted almost all Machiavellian traits and most narcissistic traits. Mistrust/Abuse was significant across almost all psychopathic traits and a few relevant narcissistic and Machiavellian traits. Study one suggests that although schemas overlap across the DT, specific schemas are differentially associated with individual DT traits. This project is the first to systematically examine the SF model as applied to the DT in the workplace.

About the Presenter:

Simone Ray BPsych, BPsych (Hon), MPsych (Clinical)

Simone is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at Bond University (Queensland, Australia) and is studying under the supervision of Dr Katerina Fritzon and Dr Bruce Watt. Simone’s research interests pertain to early maladaptive schemas, dysfunctional workplace behaviour, and aberrant personality traits.

Simone is a registered Clinical Psychologist in private practice, located in Melbourne, Australia. She is undertaking the International Training and Certification Program in Schema Therapy. Simone’s areas of clinical interests include childhood trauma, personality disorders and relationship issues. 

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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