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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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127. The Relative Importance of Agreeableness/Antagonism to Antisocial Behavior

Antagonism, the low pole of trait Agreeableness, references traits related to immorality, combativeness, grandiosity, callousness, and distrustfulness. The present paper reviews evidence that as Neuroticism is core to understanding the intense distress and suffering that comes with internalizing disorders, Antagonism is core to understanding the impairment and suffering (to the individual and society at large) that comes with externalizing disorders. Specifically, the current project reviews the literature on Antagonism/Agreeableness to illustrate: 1. the ubiquity of Antagonism across models of normal and abnormal personality, 2. the place of Antagonism/Agreeableness in higher-order models of psychopathology, 3. the relative contribution of Antagonism/Agreeableness to all antisocial outcomes—antisocial behavior/aggression, antisocial personality disorder (APD), psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The latter point is illustrated through a relative weights analysis of multiple meta-analyses of the Five Factor Model. In this analysis, Antagonism/Agreeableness accounts for between 27% (organizational deviance) and 74% (broad ASB) of the variance in antisocial outcomes accounted for by the FFM, between 46% and 61% of the variance in APD, between 54% and 76% of the variance in psychopathy, between 33% and 79% in narcissism, and between 78% and 84% in Machiavellianism. The paper closes with a discussion of potential mechanisms, an outline of future research directions, and a call for greater research attention to this important but understudied and underappreciated trait.

Donald Lynam
Purdue University

Joshua Miller
University of Georgia


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