Emotion Regulation, Dark Triad Personality, Rule-Breaking Behavior and Mental Health Problems in Young Adults: Structural Equation Modelling


  • Madeha Naz PhD Scholar, Institute of Clinical Psychology, School of Professional Psychology, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0988-5370
  • Sara Subhan Assisstant Professor, Institute of Clinical Psychology, School of Professional Psychology, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6773-7176
  • Sadia Saleem Dean, School of Professional Psychology, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.




Young Adults, Emotion Regulation, Dark Triad Personality, Rule-breaking, Mental Health Problems, Path Analysis, SEM


The correlational linkages between dark triad personality and unlawful, antisocial, and repulsive behaviors have been identified in the literature but little is known about the relationship between emotion regulation, dark triad personality, rule-breaking behavior and mental health problems and the processes underlying this association. The current study is an attempt to explore the associative paths of emotion regulation and dark triad personality traits that influence rule-breaking behavior and mental health of young adults. Cross sectional survey was completed by 560 participants between the age ranges of 18-30 years. Structural Equation Modelling was used to analyze the results of the study; results suggested that cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression contribute to different pathways for dark-triad personality, rule-breaking behavior and mental health problems. The cognitive reappraisal has positive effect on mental health problems which is mediated by rule-breaking behavior. Expressive suppression has significant relationship with mental health problems which is mediated by dark triad personality and rule-breaking behavior.  Furthermore, dark triad personality is positively associated with rule-breaking behavior and mental health problems. The findings revealed no significant gender differences in terms of emotion regulation, dark triad personality and rule-breaking behavior in young adults whereas; mental health problems are significantly prominent in men as compared to women. This study extended previous research by providing evidence that rule-breaking behavior may be one of the reasons explaining why people with emotion dysregulation and dark triad personality engage in rule-breaking behavior and develop mental health problems. Practical and theoretical implications of the study were also discussed.

Author Biographies

Sara Subhan, Assisstant Professor, Institute of Clinical Psychology, School of Professional Psychology, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.



Sadia Saleem, Dean, School of Professional Psychology, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.





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How to Cite

Naz, M., Subhan, S., & Saleem, S. (2022). Emotion Regulation, Dark Triad Personality, Rule-Breaking Behavior and Mental Health Problems in Young Adults: Structural Equation Modelling. Journal of Professional & Applied Psychology, 3(4), 437–452. https://doi.org/10.52053/jpap.v3i4.126