by Miranda Giacomin

Institution: Wilfrid Laurier University
Year: 2016
Keywords: narcissism; personality state; within-person variability; Personality and Social Contexts; Psychology; Social Psychology
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2133309
Full text PDF: http://scholars.wlu.ca/etd/1864


Though grandiose subclinical narcissism has predominantly been studied in structural terms—focused on individuals’ general tendencies to be more or less narcissistic—narcissism may also function as a personality process (i.e., narcissism fluctuates within-individuals across contexts or situations). Narcissism has also been conceptualized as a dynamic self-regulatory system, a set of coherent, mutually-reinforcing attributes, which orients individuals toward positive self-feelings (e.g., Campbell & Foster, 2007). In this dissertation, I empirically examine the possibility that narcissism has a meaningful process or state component and is more context-dependent than previously assumed. Manuscript 1 found that making people feel more connected to others (by increasing empathic concern or priming interdependent self-construal) reduced their endorsement of narcissistic tendencies and, in turn, negated some of the negative aspects associated with narcissism (e.g., fame seeking). Using a daily diary methodology, in Manuscripts 2 and 3, it was found that there is a modest, yet meaningful, amount of within-person variability in people’s narcissistic tendencies. This variability existed across different samples of participants, different time periods (i.e., 10 and 14-days), and across different assessments and conceptualizations of narcissism. Importantly this variability was psychologically meaningful, in that people’s narcissism shifted in accordance with their daily experiences (e.g., positive agentic events) or their daily psychological well-being (e.g., life satisfaction, positive affect). Together these manuscripts provide some initial evidence that grandiose narcissism can vary within individuals and that this variability can meaningfully fluctuate across different situational affordances (e.g., when feeling powerful or more connected to other people). Indeed narcissism may function as a dynamic self-regulatory system orienting individuals toward self-enhancement and positive self-views.