Grandiose narcissism versus vulnerable narcissism in threatening situations: Emotional reactions to achievement failure and interpersonal rejection

Avi Besser, Beatriz Priel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study compared grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism in terms of emotional reactions to threats involving achievement failure and interpersonal rejection. It was hypothesized that grandiose narcissism is associated with vulnerability to achievement setbacks. In contrast, vulnerable narcissism involves sensitivity to shaming interpersonal experiences. A randomized experimental 2-wave design was used with a community sample of 448 participants. Each participant was asked to imagine 1 of 4 randomly assigned hypothetical scenarios intended to evoke the threat of high- (n = 117) or low- (n = 105) level interpersonal rejection; or high- (n = 108) or low- (n = 118) level achievement failure. According to this study,s findings, in the high achievement-threat group, but not in the high interpersonal-threat group, grandiose narcissism significantly predicted greater change in negative outcomes. In contrast, in the face of a high-level interpersonal threat, but not a high-level achievement-threat, high levels of vulnerable narcissism were significantly associated with greater change in negative outcomes. These findings illustrate how different types of threatening situations vary in their relevance to grandiose narcissism as compared to vulnerable narcissism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-902
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume29
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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