An investigation of spitefulness in violent offenders: Associations with the dark triad and emotion dysregulation [2020]

Spitefulness is the inclination to inflict harm to someone else even at one’s own expenses. The development of a self‐report measure (the Spitefulness Scale [SS]) has fostered the investigation of the relationships between spitefulness and aggression‐related variables.

The present study aims to investigate the construct of spitefulness in violent offenders. Through a translation/back‐translation procedure, the SS was translated into Italian, and its psychometric properties were examined.

A sample of 249 male violent offenders and 172 male community participants filled out the SS, the Self‐Report Psychopathy Scale‐IV, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale and the Dirty Dozen Scale.

Confirmatory factor analysis results supported the unidimensional factor structure of the SS. Further results indicated that the scale had good internal consistency and met criteria for configural invariance, partial weak invariance and partial strong invariance across samples. Correlational analyses evidenced positive and significant associations between the SS scores and measures of the dark triad and emotion dysregulation. The offender sample scored significantly higher than the community sample on the SS.

Results support the internal structure and construct validity of the SS, suggesting its potential utility for the study of the construct of spitefulness in violent offenders.

Guyonne Rogier, Alessandra Roberti, Carlo Garofalo, Patrizia Velotti
Personality and Mental Health: Multidisciplinary Studies from Personality Dysfunction to Criminal Behaviour, 12 October 2020