The role of self-concept and narcissism in aggression
Hook, Tarah Lynn
It was hypothesized that the self-esteem instability and emotional reactivity associated with narcissism may be related to the simplicity of cognitive self-representation known as low self-complexity. The relationships among narcissism, self-concept, affect and violent behaviour were investigated in two studies with samples of federally sentenced violent and sexual offenders. In the first study, participants completed personality inventories and a measure of self-complexity, while changes in self-esteem were tracked across two weeks. In the second study, participants completed the same battery of measures as in the first study in addition to several new measures of anger, aggression and previous violent behaviour. Also, official records were consulted to obtain collateral information regarding violent behaviour. Experiences of positive and negative events and the resulting changes in affect and self-esteem were tracked over six weeks. It was expected that self-complexity would mediate reactivity to daily events such that individuals low in self-complexity and high in narcissistic personality traits would report the greatest shifts in self-esteem and emotion. When positive and negative self-complexity were considered separately, some support was found for the hypothesized buffering effect. Generally, higher positive self-complexity was associated with better coping while higher negative self-complexity was associated with less desirable reactions to events. Theoretical and clinical implications of this finding are discussed along with limitations of these studies and suggestions for future research.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorWormith, J. Stephen
CommitteePresse, Cindy; Hoffman, Sarah; Chartier, Brian M.
Copyright DateMay 2007