Empathetic and Aggressive Reactions to Agentic and Communal Threats towards Narcissistic Parents versus Non Narcissistic Parents
Introduction Word Count: 846
Besser and Priel’s (2010) study suggest that grandiose narcissist experience vulnerability to achievement oriented threats whereas vulnerable narcissist shows sensitivity to interpersonal threats that result in negative emotional reactions. The study included an achievement oriented threat inflicted by a coworker and an interpersonal threat inflicted by a significant other. Previous research has yet to study how communal and agentic threats, derivations of achievement and interpersonal threats, affect a narcissistic parent’s empathetic and aggression reactions when these threats are inflicted by their child; therefore examining a generally deeper connection, the child and parent relationship. A study is proposed where parents will be presented with a hypothetical threat scenario containing either an agentic or communal threat to examine whether narcissistic parents, in both the grandiose and vulnerable dimension, are affected more than non-narcissist when presented with either a communal or agentic threat, when the threat is inflicted by their child. It is predicted that both grandiose and vulnerable narcissist will show greater empathetic and aggressive reactions when presented with these threats than non-narcissist, but each individually react more
Research has shown that the two separate spectrums of narcissism, grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, differ in their relation with emotional reactivity to domain-specific threats (Besser & Priel, 2010). Various studies have identified the two individual dimensions of narcissism, grandiose and vulnerable narcissism (e.g., Akhtar & Thomson, 1982; Cooper, 1998; Dickinson & Pincus, 2003; Gabbard, 1989,1998; Gersten, 1991; Hendin & Ceek, 1997; Kohut, 1971; Rose, 2002; Rovik, 2001; Wink, 1991, 1996). Grandiose narcissism is a subtype of narcissism that is described by the diagnostic criteria of narcissistic personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) as one with a sense of entitlement, reactivity to criticism, arrogance, and self-absorption. Those diagnosed with this specific type of narcissism were found to report more concerns for self-presentation, status, power, dominance, and physical beauty (Hill & McFerren, 1995). On the other hand, vulnerable narcissism is specifically characterized by less functional self-enhancement strategies to manage self-esteem and therefore is dependent on feedback from others to modulate self-esteem. They also exhibit a heightened hypersensitivity to interpersonal situations that could foster shame (Besser & Priel, 2009; Mikulincer, Kedem, & Paz, 1990). Although vulnerable narcissism has several factors that differentiate it from grandiose narcissism, it is also associated with grandiose fantasies about the self, feelings of entitlement, and a willingness to exploit other for one’s own gain (Cooper, 1998; Dickinson & Pincus, 2003; Pimentel, Ansell, Pincus & Cain, 2006; Pincus et al., 2009). As these two subtypes of narcissism differentiate on many aspects, research has suggested that certain types of treats affect one more than others (Besser & Priel, 2010). In Besser and Priel’s (2010) study they examined how grandiose and vulnerable narcissist reported emotional reactions to two different types of threats, an achievement oriented threat and an interpersonal rejection threat. They found that participants with high levels of grandiose narcissism were more vulnerable to achievement oriented threats and only showed significant negative emotions when the high threat of the achievement oriented condition was presented. Those high on vulnerable narcissist on the other hand, were more sensitive to interpersonal threats...
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