The Assessment, Dimensionality, and Development of Narcissism in Early Adulthood

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Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2017-07-24
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Erziehungswissenschaft
Advisor: Nagengast, Benjamin (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2017-07-04
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
Keywords: Narzissmus , Persönlichkeit , Narzisstische Persönlichkeitsstörung , Persönlichkeitsentwicklung , Diagnostik , Selbstüberschätzung
Other Keywords:
personality development
personality assessment
License: Publishing license excluding print on demand
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Several researchers have pointed out that narcissism can have detrimental consequences for other people and society (e.g., Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Twenge & Campbell, 2009). Hence, it is surprising that little research has focused on how narcissism develops and how the environment influences the development of narcissism. The present dissertation investigated the assessment, dimensionality, and development of narcissism in early adulthood. To pave the way for research on the development of narcissism, Studies 1 and 2 investigated the assessment and dimensionality of narcissism. Study 1 examined the closeness to unidimensionality and measurement precision of the subscales of two narcissism questionnaires, the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ; Back et al., 2013) and the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979). We assessed the closeness to unidimensionality and measurement precision of the two questionnaires using minimum rank factor analysis and item response theory, respectively, across three large samples from two different countries. Across the samples of Study 1, the two subscales of the NARQ showed high levels of closeness to unidimensionality and measurement precision. These result are in line with the two-dimensional structure proposed by Back et al. (2013). This structure splits grandiose narcissism into assertive aspects (i.e., narcissistic admiration) and antagonistic aspects (i.e., narcissistic rivalry). Some NPI subscales, which are also believed to assess grandiose narcissism, also showed high levels of closeness to unidimensionality and measurement precision. Because these NPI dimensions were related to but distinct from the two NARQ dimensions, Study 1 indicated that there are more dimensions of grandiose narcissism than the two dimensions proposed by Back et al. (2013). Study 2 investigated how the various dimensions of narcissism, including dimensions of grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, are related to overclaiming bias. Overclaiming bias is a form of self-enhancement that is characterized by illegitimately claiming knowledge. In a large online sample, we modeled the various narcissism dimensions assessed with the NARQ, the NPI, and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (Pincus et al., 2009) with a second-order factor model. The model contained three second-order factors: assertive narcissism, antagonistic narcissism, and vulnerable narcissism. The results showed that only assertive narcissism but not antagonistic or vulnerable narcissism were related to overclaiming bias. The fact that the various dimensions or second-order factors of narcissism were related differently to an external criterion buttresses the idea that there is a need to distinguish various kinds of narcissism. Study 3 investigated the mean-level development of narcissistic admiration from age 20 to 30. Moreover, Study 3 researched how individual differences in the development of narcissistic admiration are related to studying economics at university and experiencing any of 30 life events (e.g., starting a new job or getting married). We analyzed longitudinal data from two samples from the TOSCA study (Transformation of the Secondary School System and Academic Careers study; Köller, Watermann, Trautwein & Lüdtke, 2004; Trautwein, Neumann, Nagy, Lüdtke, & Maaz, 2010). In both cohorts, the mean levels of narcissistic admiration barely changed. In contrast to our hypothesis, studying economics was not related to an increase in narcissistic admiration over time. That said, five life events (e.g., a negatively evaluated failing of an important exam or a positively evaluated change to another university/apprenticeship) were positively related to changes in narcissistic admiration during early adulthood. The results of the three studies are discussed with reference to previous studies and relevant theories. Implications are considered. Strengths and limitations are assessed. And directions for future research are suggested. The main takeaways of the dissertation are: Longitudinal research on narcissism needs to distinguish various dimensions or, at least, second-order factors of narcissism. Furthermore, certain experiences in early adulthood are related to the development of narcissistic admiration.

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