Machiavellianism, Relationship Satisfaction, and Romantic Relationship Quality

Gayle Brewer, Loren Abell


Machiavellianism is characterised by a manipulative interpersonal style, willingness to exploit others, and a preference for emotionally detached relationships. The present studies investigate the extent to which Machiavellianism influences relationship satisfaction and romantic relationship quality. In Study 1, 194 heterosexual partnered women completed Machiavellianism and Relationship Satisfaction measures. Women with higher levels of Machiavellianism reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction. In Study 2, 132 heterosexual partnered women completed Machiavellianism, Trust, Commitment, Control, and Emotional Abuse scales. Women with higher levels of Machiavellianism perceived their partners to be less dependable, reported less faith in their partners, and were less willing to persist with the relationship than those with low levels of Machiavellianism. With regards to negative behavior, Machiavellianism predicted each form of control and emotional abuse investigated, such that those with high levels of Machiavellianism were more likely to engage in controlling behavior and emotional abuse. Findings have important implications for the prediction of romantic relationship quality and in particular for negative behavior such as control and abuse.


Machiavellianism; relationships; satisfaction; trust; commitment; control; emotional abuse

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