The toxic triad is commonly known as the Dark Triad.
The triad consists of three
sets of personality traits
representing features of
Psychological Scientists Peter Jonason and Gregory Webster
developed a scale known as the Dirty
Dozen (2010), which uses 12-items to identify key features of this “Dark”
or Toxic Triad.
I tend to manipulate others to get my way.
I tend to lack remorse.
I tend to want others to admire me.
I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my
I have used deceit or lied to get my way.
I tend to be callous or insensitive.
I have used flattery to get my way.
I tend to seek prestige or status.
tend to exploit others toward my own end.
tend to expect special favors from others.
want others to pay attention to me.
Each item is rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale based how
much it applies to a person. Here’s the subscales:
Narcissism = 3, 8, 11, 12
Machiavellianism = 1, 5, 7, 10
As you can see, scores could range from 12 to 84. Webster
& Jonason (2013) examined the scale in samples totaling 1,014 college
students. The second sample used the 7-point rating scale, which resulted in an
overall item mean of 2.92 and SD
Overall alpha was .87. See Table 3 of their article for more details. Note
that this is a general population college sample thus we would expect higher
scores in clinical samples.
For a more recent meta-analytic review of various measures of the Dark
Triad, see Muris et al., 2017 (reference below).
Wholistic Assessment Note
In a wholistic assessment, behavior traits are components of Observed Behavior Patterns or Personality, which is the "O" in the SCOPES model of functioning.
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Jonason, P. K.,
& Webster, G. D. (2010). The dirty dozen: A concise measure of the dark
triad. Psychological Assessment, 22(2),
420-432. doi:10.1037/a0019265 [See Table 8 on page 429 for the list of the 12 items.]
Muris, P., Merckelback, H., Otgaar, H. & Meijer, E.
(2017). The Malevolent Side of Human Nature: A Meta-Analysis and Critical
Review of the Literature on the Dark Triad (Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and
Psychopathy). Perspectives on
Psychological Science, 12 (2), 183-204. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616666070
Webster, G. D.,
& Jonason, P. K. (2013). Putting the 'irt' in 'dirty': Item response theory
analyses of the dark triad dirty dozen—an efficient measure of narcissism,
psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Personality
and Individual Differences, 54(2), 302-306. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.027
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