Abstract: Narcissists typically present themselves in self-enhancing ways to gain validation (through positive social appraisals) of grandiose, yet uncertain self-views. Using e-mail, Studies 1 and 2 investigated several intra- and interpersonal variables that may influence narcissists' self-presentational behaviour. University students rated themselves on self domains requiring either external validation (e.g., attractiveness) or internal validation (e.g., morality), after being randomly assigned to be either accountable or non-accountable to an evaluative audience for their self-ratings (Study 1), to present their self-ratings to either a single or multiple person evaluative audience (Study 2), and to expect to present their self-ratings to either a high or low status evaluative audience (Studies 1 and 2).Results suggested that when degree of external self-worth contingency (Crocker & Wolfe, 2001) was high, narcissists were insensitive to strategic self-presentational requirements, presenting themselves in a typically self-enhancing manner on external domains when accountable and when presenting to a multiple person audience. Non-narcissists showed more contextual sensitivity when degree of external self-worth contingency was high, and were more modest when these social contextual variables were present. Participants in Study 3 were given bogus positive or negative personality feedback on either their moral virtue or competitive spirit.Narcissists reported greater anger after receiving negative feedback, while also responding to negative feedback with inflated self-presentations. A key finding was that the combination of a high degree of self-worth contingency and negative feedback resulted in increases in self-reported depression and drops in state self-esteem in narcissists. Results suggest that narcissists are chronically vigilant for self-enhancement opportunities, but may be insensitive to social constraints and norms in their efforts to construct their grandiose identities. Narcissists are especially vigilant for self-enhancement opportunities on contingent domains, yet when negative feedback is received in these domains where self-worth is staked, depression and lowered self-esteem may result.
Originally part of the Australasian Digital Theses (ADT) database.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate.) - La Trobe University, 2006.
Submission note: "A thesis submitted in total fulfilment for the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology [to the School of Psychological Sciences], Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora."
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