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Extreme narcissistic traits have been proposed to be part of the "core" personality features of psychopathy. This view has some theoretical and experimental support but some inconsistencies remain that might be clarified by examining the differential relationship between narcissism subtypes and psychopathy factors. Skeem, Poythress, Edens, Lilienfeld & Cale, (2003) hypothesized that a subtype of narcissism dubbed grandiose may be related to the core personality factor of psychopathy, whereas, a subtype dubbed vulnerable may be related to the antisocial/impulsivity factor of psychopathy. We tested Skeem et al.'s (2003) proposed relationship between narcissism subtypes, and psychopathy factors on 122 participants (63 women), along motivational, physiological, and psychological variables. In addition, given the relationship between high narcissism traits and aggression, we examined if narcissism subtypes differed in proactive and reactive aggression. Results replicated prior findings of a relationship between high narcissistic traits and aggression and indicated that grandiose narcissists show psychophysiological response patterns similar to primary psychopaths, whereas, vulnerable narcissists have moderate disinhibitory physiological markers and resemble more traditional views of the "closet" narcissist who appears subdued but is nonetheless entitled and exploitative. Findings from this study may provide a useful framework to explain the clinical presentation of psychopathic traits in non-institutionalized settings within the context of narcissism subtypes.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeanette Taylor, Professor Directing Dissertation; Carter Hay, Outside Committee Member; Joyce Carbonell, Committee Member; Al Lang, Committee Member; Jon Maner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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