Adolescent Communal Narcissism and Peer Perceptions

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Objective: The present study extended recent work on communal narcissism to a sample of at‐risk adolescents. Although narcissism is widely considered an agentic personality construct, Gebauer and colleagues (Gebauer, Sedikides, Verplanken, & Maio, 2012) demonstrated the existence and utility of a communal narcissism construct in adults. The extent to which this variant of narcissism applies to adolescents is not yet known. Because communal narcissism (e.g., feeling that one is the most helpful, is a great influence on others, will bring about world peace) may actually be aversive to others, we investigated the associated self‐ and peer perceptions of adolescent communal narcissism.

Method: Participants were 136 adolescents (104 males, 32 females; 52.2% White, 42.2% Black, 5.6% Other) aged 16–19, who were attending a 22‐week residential program together. Participants completed self‐report measures of narcissism and interpersonal behavior, as well as a peer nomination procedure.

Results: Self‐reported communal narcissism was significantly related to self‐reported pro‐social behavior but was associated with peer‐reported aggression, similar to the findings for nonpathological narcissism, which is considered agentic.

Conclusions: Adolescent communal narcissism appears to be tied to negative peer perceptions. The implications for understanding the interpersonal consequences of adolescent grandiosity in communal domains are discussed.

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