The interplay of the Dark Triad and social media use motives to social media disorder

Wai Yen Tang*, Felix Reer, Thorsten Quandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social media are integral communication channels in our digital world and likewise, studies have examined its benefits and harms, like addictive use (‘social media disorder’; SMD). Among the contributing factors to SMD are personality differences and social media use motivations. The present study examined the relationships of the dark triad of personality, consisting of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, to SMD through social media use motivations. The study was conducted from an online survey of 1865 German social media users. Parallel mediation analyses indicate that each dark personality trait was directly and indirectly associated to SMD via entertainment, communication and self-expression motives. There are different indirect associations via relationship maintenance motivation, a negative indirect association was found for narcissism, a positive indirect association for psychopathy and no significant indirect association for Machiavellianism. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the motivational processes underlying the link between dark personality traits and SMD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111402
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date4 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Parts of the research leading to these results were funded by the Daimler and Benz Foundation via the project “Internet und seelische Gesundheit” (“Internet and Mental Health”). None of the funding sources had any role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Addiction
  • Dark triad
  • Motivation
  • Personality
  • Social media


Dive into the research topics of 'The interplay of the Dark Triad and social media use motives to social media disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this