Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Tammy D. Barry

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Christopher Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Sara S. Jordan

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Abstract

Much literature relates social status inflation and narcissism to aggression in children, especially pertaining to peer relationships. The literature does not yet address how these concepts may be impacted by peer victimization. Both children with higher levels of social status inflation and narcissism have been found to be sensitive to ego threats (Barry, Grafeman, Bader, & Davis, 2011). The current study tests the theory that children with higher levels of social status inflation and children with higher levels of narcissism tend to elicit negative feedback from their peers, which may take the form of peer victimization. Additionally, an inflated sense of self may relate to an increase in aggression concurrently and with time. For the current study, it was hypothesized that peer victimization would moderate the relation between social status inflation and aggression as well as the relation between narcissism and aggression. Using archival data, 143 fifth graders were screened by teachers for initial moderate to high levels of aggression. Data from two time points were used. Narcissism and social status inflation were found to be strongly positively related to Time 1 proactive aggression, reactive aggression, and peer fighting. Furthermore, narcissism was found to be a unique predictor of an increase in all three aggression outcomes at Time 2. Peer victimization was not found to relate to any of the three aggression outcomes. A combination of high social status inflation and low peer victimization led to the highest increases in peer fighting at Time 2. These findings have important theoretical and clinical implications.

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