Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Christopher Barry

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Tammy Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Bradley Green

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Bonnie Nicholson

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study examined whether children and adolescents who have been victims of sexual or physical abuse report higher levels of narcissistic tendencies than children and adolescents who have not been victims of abuse. Inaddition to narcissism, internalizing symptoms, externalizing behaviors, and risky behaviors were evaluated, as such issues have been associated with both maltreatment (Baer & Maschi, 2003) and narcissism (Barry & Malkin, 2010; Bushman & Baumeister, 1998). One-hundred fifty- six (156) children and adolescents (100 females, 56 males) ranging in age from 8 to 17 (M = 12.90, SD = 2.66) were recruited as participants. The vast majority of participants were African American (86.5%). Sixty-one (61) of the participants were children and adolescents referred for forensic medical evaluations resulting from reported sexual or physical abuse, and the remaining 95 participants were recruited from the community. Contrary to hypotheses, children/adolescents in the abused group demonstrated significantly lower narcissism than those in the community group. Community participants also reported somewhat higher risk-taking behaviors than the children and adolescents in the abused group. The implications of these findings for understanding narcissism and risk-taking behaviors as a function of abuse history are discussed.