Gregg, Aiden P. and Sedikides, Constantine
Narcissistic fragility: rethinking its links to explicit and implicit self-esteem
Self and Identity, 9, (2), . (doi:10.1080/15298860902815451).
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Several studies have tested whether narcissism is a compensatory reaction to underlying ego fragility by examining narcissism's empirical links to both explicit self-esteem (ESE) and implicit self-esteem (ISE), under the general expectation that narcissists should exhibit an abundance of ESE but a dearth of ISE. However, not only have these studies yielded conflicting findings, they have also proceeded from divergent theoretical assumptions that shape the interpretation of their findings. Here, we draw out the implications of three prominent models of the interrelationships between narcissism, ESE, and ISE, before reassessing those interrelationships in a large multi-session study. Two (out of three) indices of ISE covaried negatively with narcissism, consistent with the view that ISE is a global marker for ego fragility. We contextualize our findings in terms of recent research and propose a new mechanism linking ISE to ego fragility.
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