Vulnerable Narcissism and Other-Derogation: Examining How Vulnerable Narcissists Respond to Self-Esteem Threat Open Access

Ma, Zipeng (Spring 2020)

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Self-esteem threats are prevalent in everyday life. Individuals’ reactions to self-esteem threats may differ depending on certain personality factors. The present study examined how individual differences in vulnerable narcissism influenced the propensity to derogate an innocent other following a self-esteem threat. A sample of 159 undergraduate students participated in the study. In the experiment, participants took part in a job preparedness assessment and were randomly assigned to receive negative or neutral feedback regarding their performance. Participants were then given the opportunity to derogate a fictitious job applicant through assessing the job applicant’s resume. As predicted, participants who scored high in vulnerable narcissism engaged in more other-derogation than participants who scored low in vulnerable narcissism. Contrary to prior prediction, there was no significant interactive effect between feedback condition and vulnerable narcissism. The study suggested that individuals need not be the direct source of negative information to be on the receiving end of unfavorable evaluation from those who are high in vulnerable narcissism. 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Self-Esteem. 1

Self-Esteem Maintenance. 2

Self-Esteem Threat. 3

Reactions to Self-Esteem Threat. 3

Restoring Self-Esteem via Other-Derogation. 5

Narcissism. 6

Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism. 6

Vulnerable Narcissism and Reactions to Self-Esteem Threat. 8

Current Study. 10

Hypotheses. 11

Method. 12

Participants. 12

Description of Cover Story. 12

Measures of Primary Variables. 13

Measures of Additional Variables. 15

Procedure. 17

Results. 19

Descriptive Statistics. 19

Manipulation Check. 19

Test of Main Hypotheses. 20

Exploratory Analyses with Additional Variables. 21

Discussion. 21

Strengths. 25

Limitations. 27

Future Directions. 29

Conclusion. 30

References. 32

Appendices. 45

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