THE IMPACT OF INTERPERSONAL REJECTION ON SELF-ESTEEM AND MOOD IN VULNERABLE NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITIES, GRANDIOSE NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITIES, AND AVOIDANT PERSONALITIES: EXPERIMENTAL VALIDATION OF VULNERABLE NARCISSISM AND THE VULNERABLE NARCISSISM SCALE

Open Access
Author:
Pimentel, Claudia Amada
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 05, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Committee Chair
  • Kathleen Bieschke, Committee Member
  • Elizabeth C Pinel, Committee Member
  • J Gowen Roper, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • assessment of narcissism
  • self-esteem
  • vulnerable narcissism
  • narcissism
  • avoidant personality
Abstract:
Theoretical writings have proposed two phenotypic expressions of narcissistic pathology: grandiose and vulnerable. While the grandiose narcissistic expression is adequately represented in diagnostic and assessment instruments, the vulnerable is not. The Vulnerable Narcissism Scale (VNS; Pimentel et al., 2004) is a measure that was developed to assess the vulnerable phenotypic expression of narcissistic pathology. Past research has shown that vulnerable narcissism is often misdiagnosed as avoidant personality pathology. The goals of this study were twofold: (1) to provide further empirical data supporting the construct validity of the VNS; and (2) to provide experimental evidence for the validity of vulnerable narcissism by distinguishing this phenotype from the grandiose phenotypic expression of narcissism and from avoidant personalities. Using a non-clinical population, this study compared vulnerable narcissistic personalities’, grandiose narcissistic personalities’, and avoidant personalities’ overt presentations, conscious and unconscious self-views, and ability to modulate self-esteem and affect following a self-esteem threat. The findings of this study provide further validity for the VNS and corroborate theoretical writings that describe the differences between the two phenotypic expressions of narcissistic pathology. While this study provides evidence for the similarities in the overt presentation and conscious self-views of vulnerable narcissistic personalities and avoidant personalities, it was less successful in identifying the differences between these personality types. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.