Are you talking to me?: Evaluating possible cognitive mediators on the relation between narcissism and aggressive traits in adolescents

Jessica Diane Pickard

Abstract

Narcissistic personality characteristics (e.g., grandiosity, entitlement, exploitativeness, exhibitionism) are associated with various forms of problem behaviors in children or adolescents, including aggression. The aim of this study was to extend what is known about the relation between narcissism and aggression. Specifically, social-cognitive factors (i.e., hostile attributions, attitudes supporting the use of aggression) were hypothesized to mediate this relation. Two hundred nineteen (219) participants between the ages of 16 and 19 years ( M = 16.83 yrs; SD = .80) were recruited for this study. Participants were of both sexes (85% male) and of Caucasian (62%), African American (37 %) and other (1%) ethnic origin. Overall, the data showed that adolescents with more narcissistic personality traits were more likely to report higher levels of both reactive and proactive aggression. Also, adolescents' beliefs supporting the use of aggression partially mediated the relation between narcissism and both proactive and reactive aggression. Hostile attributions and retaliatory beliefs supporting aggression did not mediate the relation between narcissism and aggression including different forms. Important theoretical implications are discussed to shed light on these findings, as well as on possible intervention targets and future research directions.