Background. Machiavellianism is viewed as a manipulative personal mindset, consistently connected to failure of self-awareness and destruction of close interpersonal relationships, which finds indirect proof in the studies of Machiavellianism and other traits of the Dark Triad in healthy population. Additionally, the role of Machiavellianism in the regulation of various forms of social behaviour characterized by various degrees of regulation, complexity, emotional closeness is not yet studied well enough. Machiavellianism and other forms of manipulative behaviour are expected to be viewed as adaptive strategies in regulating interpersonal relationships in situations of uncertainty, will be expressed differently in the relatively normal and clinical populations depending on emotional engagement, tolerance to uncertainty and values.
Objective. The objective of the study was to identify the input in the expression of Machiavellianism, estimated by Mach-4 scale (by R. Christie, F. Geis, adapted by V.V. Znakov, 2000), of such psychological features as empathy (Measure of Emotional Empathy, by A. Mehrabian, N. Epstein, adapted by U. Orlov, U. Emelianov, 1986), attitude to uncertainty (A New Questionnaire of Uncertainty Tolerance/ Intolerance, by T.V. Kornilova), value orientations (Justice-Care Questionnaire, by S. V. Molchanov, 2005), as well as clinical schizotypal traits (SPQ-74, by Raine A., adapted by S.N. Enikolopov and A.G. Efremov, 2001).
Design. The sample included 80 patients with schizophrenia disorders (F 20.0, F 25.0, F 21.0) and 40 participants without psychiatric diagnoses. The patients were divided into two groups. In the group of patients with paranoid schizophrenia there were males (50%) and females (50%); in the group of patients with schizotypal disorders there were males (45%) and females (55%). The participants without psychiatric diagnoses included males (37.5%) and females (62.5%). The mean age of the participants was 30±5. Each patient was undergoing individual research. At the moment of the study, the patients were hospitalized in the Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia. Results. The regression analysis showed that the lack of empathy, i.e. emotional engagement in the process of interpersonal communication was one of the main regulators of Machiavellianism both in the control (p<.05) and the clinical (p<.001) groups. At the same time, the pronounced schizotypal traits, which are connected to emotional relational aspect of clinical symptoms (suspicion, restricted affect, social anxiety), characterized the climate of the interpersonal communication. Being not the leading ones, they provided the basis for exacerbation of manipulative tendencies. In the control group, “interpersonal intolerance to uncertainty” was the additional factor of Machiavellianism indicator (p<.05). Those patients who have difficulty bearing the ambiguity of relationships were prone to manipulate others. Low “intolerance to uncertainty” in the clinical groups may also strengthen the Machiavellianism indicator (p<.01), which is proved by the links with some aspects of moral self-awareness, based on disregard of traditional ethical norms, laws and orders in decision-making in interpersonal communication.
Conclusion. Among the studied parameters, the regulation of Machiavellianism expression both in clinical and in the control groups is determined by empathy and intolerance to uncertainty. Value priorities and clinical traits, while connected to Machiavellianism, do not allow the authors to conclude on the amount of input of the specific indicator on the manipulative behaviour. The discovered constellations of dyadic relationship quality of Machiavellianism may help to elaborate individual strategies of effective communication with patients with schizophrenia disorders in the framework of psychotherapeutic and rehabilitative programs.