The Darker Side of Personality: Narcissism Predicts Moral Disengagement and Antisocial Behavior in Sport

in The Sport Psychologist

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Benjamin D. JonesBangor University

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Tim WoodmanBangor University

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Matthew BarlowBangor University

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Ross RobertsBangor University

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Despite a plethora of research on moral disengagement and antisocial behavior, there is a dearth of literature that explores personality in the context of these undesirable attitudes and behaviors. We provide the first examination of personality, specifically narcissism, as a predictor of moral disengagement and antisocial behavior in sport. Given that narcissism is negatively related to empathy and positively related to feelings of entitlement, it is more likely for narcissists to disengage morally and to behave antisocially. We thus hypothesized that narcissism would predict antisocial behavior via moral disengagement. Across 12 team contact sports (n = 272), bootstrapped mediation analyses confirmed this indirect effect, which remained significant when controlling for motivational climate, social desirability, sex and sport type. Coaches and practitioners would do well to consider the darker side of personality in targeting moral disengagement and its behavioral consequences in team sports.

Jones, Barlow, and Roberts are with the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK. Woodman is with the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.

Address author correspondence to Benjamin D. Jones at pep418@bangor.ac.uk.
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