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The fragile self-esteem view of narcissism suggests that narcissism is rooted in insecurity of the self that is disguised by grandiosity and arrogance. This conceptualization was initially developed from a psychoanalytic perspective and remains largely overlooked in empirical investigations. The current study empirically tested the fragile self-esteem hypothesis using two established measures of implicit self-esteem. It was proposed that implicit self-esteem would moderate the association between narcissism and criterion measures assessing emotional (e.g., anxiety and depression) and behavioral (e.g., aggression) functioning. Specifically, the study examined for opposing patterns of emotional and behavioral functioning associated with high and low implicit self-esteem profiles. Using a multi-method assessment battery in a large mixed-gender young adult sample, the results failed to support the study predictions and seriously question the viability of the fragile self-esteem hypothesis. Limitations that could have impacted results and avenues for future research are discussed.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Psychology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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