Machiavellian males with high emotional intelligence exhibit fewer depressive symptoms

Bianchi, Renzo; Patthey, Nathan; Mirkovic, Danijela; Lemaitre, Bruno; Schlegel, Katja (2020). Machiavellian males with high emotional intelligence exhibit fewer depressive symptoms. Personality and individual differences, 158(109867), pp. 1-7. Elsevier 10.1016/j.paid.2020.109867

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Research on the link between Machiavellianism and depression has yielded equivocal results. In this study, we examined the possible moderating role of ability emotional intelligence (a-EI) on the Machiavellianism-depression relationship. a-EI was approached as a factor influencing the effectiveness of Machiavellians' manipulative strategies. A total of 469 participants were recruited (34% male; mean age: 42.37). Machiavellian dispositions were assessed with the Machiavellianism subscale of the Dirty Dozen. a-EI was measured with the 10-scenario version of the Geneva EMOtion Knowledge-Blends—a performance-based test. Depressive symptoms were evaluated with the PHQ-9, a scale covering both cognitive-affective and somatic aspects of depression. Correlational analyses revealed no raw association between Machiavellianism, a-EI, and depression. In men, a-EI was found to moderate the effect of Machiavellianism on depression in such a way that Machiavellianism was protective against depressive symptoms when coupled with high a-EI. Component-level analyses indicated that the observed interaction was essentially underpinned by somatic depression. Machiavellianism predicted somatic depression negatively in males with high a-EI and positively in males with low a-EI. No association was identified in females. This study suggests that Machiavellianism is not depressogenic in itself. Remarkably, Machiavellianism might have antidepressant virtues in men exhibiting high a-EI.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Personality Psychology, Differential Psychology and Diagnostics

UniBE Contributor:

Schlegel, Katja


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education








Karin Dubler

Date Deposited:

13 Apr 2021 08:50

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:48

Publisher DOI:





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