Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Diana Falkenbach

Second Reader

Sean Murphy

Third Advisor

Erin Williams


The Dark Triad is used to describe three distinct yet related personality traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism, which share several characteristics such as manipulation, exploitation, emotional coldness, and lack of empathy. The Dark Triad has been associated with several negative behaviors including infidelity and risky sexual behavior, however most of the current research focuses only on males high on the Dark Triad traits. The present study seeks to expand the literature by studying how the Dark Triad traits and online dating usage relate to the composite score of risky sexual behaviors. Further, we seek to examine if gender moderates this relationship. Participants consist of a community sample recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Participants were given an online survey that collected demographic information (age, gender, race, and sexual orientation), and measured the levels of the Dark Triad traits, online dating usage, and risky sexual behaviors. Results indicated that the Dark Triad traits and online dating were associated with more risky sexual behaviors. The implications will be discussed.



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