خودشیفتگی، شناسایی و تغییر طولی در سلامت روانی: پیش بینی های پویا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32192||2008||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 42, Issue 5, October 2008, Pages 1148–1159
The narcissist has been described as “dependent on others to provide confirmation of the grandiose ego ideal” (American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.). The present study shows how the combination of dependent identification and unhealthy narcissism leads to decreasing psychological health across 42 years of adulthood. Change in psychological health is studied in 156 participants of the Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley. We predicted that longitudinal decline in psychological health, as assessed by longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling analyses of the California Personality Inventory v3 scale [Gough, H. G., & Bradley, P. (1996). California Psychological Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press], would be predicted by the joint presence in early adulthood of maladaptive narcissism [Wink, P. (1992). Three narcissism scales for the California Q-set. Journal of Personality Assessment, 58, 51–66] and defensive identification [Cramer, P. (1991a). The development of defense mechanisms: Theory, research and assessment. New York: Springer-Verlag]. In contrast, we predicted healthy narcissism would be positively related to psychological health throughout adulthood. Predictions were confirmed via regression analyses including interaction terms, and are explained by the insoluble conflict that occurs when narcissistic gratification is dependent on the admiration of others, but the tie to others interferes with independent growth and accomplishment.
With increasing numbers of persons living longer lives, change in psychological health over the adult years becomes an increasingly important issue. Studies have found psychological health to increase (e.g., Mroczek & Spiro, 2003), to decrease (e.g., Aldwin, Spiro, Levenson, & Bossé, 1989), and to remain relatively stable with increasing age (e.g., Diener & Suh, 1998). A recent study, based on a more sensitive measure of individual longitudinal change, demonstrated all three types of change within a single adult sample. Using longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling Jones, Livson, and Peskin (2006) showed that while psychological health increased from age 33 to age 75 on average, there was considerable variability across individuals; some increased in psychological health as they grew older, some decreased, and yet others remained stable. Given the importance of psychological health, we would like to understand the factors that contribute to, or impede, its growth over the adult years. Research regarding these factors has tended to focus on concurrent relations between psychological health and selected personality factors, or on predictive factors that lead to group average change in psychological health. For example, both positive and negative concurrent relations between psychological health and narcissism (e.g., Raskin et al., 1991, Sedikides et al., 2004 and Wink, 1992), and between psychological health and defense mechanism use (e.g., Cramer, 1999 and Vaillant, 1993) have been demonstrated. Also, predictive relations between defense use and group change in neuroticism and psychological health (e.g., Cramer, 2003 and Vaillant, 1993) have been demonstrated. What has not been investigated is whether narcissism and defense use might predict the magnitude and direction of individual change in psychological health. The purpose of the present study is to determine the role of these two factors in the adult longitudinal trajectory of psychological health. Both factors may be considered self-regulatory processes. Both are also related to the developmental process of separation/individuation. Narcissism may contribute to positive psychological development (e.g., Sedikides et al., 2004 and Smalley and Stake, 1996), or may impede psychological growth (e.g., Colvin, Block, & Funder, 1995), depending on whether the narcissism is adaptive or maladaptive (Raskin et al., 1991 and Wink, 1992). In both cases, the function of narcissism is to protect the self and self-esteem. As such, narcissism is involved in self-esteem regulation (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001), and thus may be understood as serving a defensive function. The ego mechanisms of defense also serve the function of protecting the self—both self-esteem and self-coherence (Cramer, 2006 and Kohut, 1977) and thus are processes of self-regulation (Shapiro, 2000). When the self is threatened, these mental operations are used to sustain a positive self-image and to reduce anxiety. Theoretically, these two characteristics—narcissism and defense mechanisms—have been characterized as functioning in a reciprocal fashion. When narcissism functions to protect the self, defense mechanisms are less important. Conversely, when defenses are used for self-protection, narcissism recedes. This shifting reliance on narcissism and defense mechanisms has been described as characterizing the period of late adolescence (Blos, 1962), and has been demonstrated, empirically, to be related to identity development in college students (Cramer, 1995). Although this reciprocal relation has not been studied in adults, it is possible that defenses and narcissism might be similarly related to psychological health in adulthood. 1.1. Psychological health Psychological health in adulthood has been described from a variety of perspectives (e.g., Allport, 1955, Helson and Wink, 1987 and Rogers, 1961) and measured using a variety of assessment techniques (e.g., interview, projective tasks, self-report inventories). Important dimensions in the area of psychological health assessment include the distinctions between self-report versus clinician-report (e.g., Jones, Livson, & Peskin, 1995), theoretical versus atheoretical approaches (e.g., Gough and Bradley, 1996 and Vaillant, 1977), and microbehavioral versus macrobehavioral foci (e.g., Crosnoe and Elder, 2002 and Diener et al., 1984). Researchers have also begun to explore the distinction between psychological health as indicated by conformance to societal rules and expectations versus the ability to show intrapsychic depth and complexity (e.g., Clausen, 1993, Helson and Srivastava, 2001 and Vaillant, 1977). Here we use a measure that can be classified as self-reported, atheoretical, and falling midway between a micro- and macrobehavioral focus. Additionally, our measure of psychological health is a reflection of an individual’s ability to effectively negotiate the vicissitudes of life, and perform effectively within society, thus more in line with the measurement of conformance to societal rules rather than intrapsychic complexity. Our measure of psychological health (“v3”) is part of the California Psychological Inventory (CPI: Gough & Bradley, 1996), and is described in the literature as assessing either competence (Helson & Wink, 1987), ego integration or self-realization (Gough & Bradley, 1996), or overall psychological health (Jones et al., 2006). A strength of this particular measure is that it is completely separate from our Q-sort based measure of narcissism and a measure of identification obtained from narrative material. 1.2. Narcissism Optimal self-esteem, or healthy narcissism, supports striving toward and achievement of goals and successful careers (Wink, 1991b), and this is likely to contribute to psychological health. However, when the self is diffuse or insecure, maladaptive narcissism, characterized by self-aggrandizement, power-seeking and condescension (Raskin et al., 1991), is brought into play to protect against feelings of inadequacy. Despite the surface grandiosity and braggadocio that characterize the narcissistic personality, clinical evidence indicates these individuals often have an underlying sense of low self-worth (Freud, 1914/1957, Kohut, 1977 and Millon, 1981). This finding is also shown in experimental studies in which the most highly narcissistic individuals are those with high explicit self-esteem but low implicit self-esteem (e.g., Jordan et al., 2003 and Ziegler-Hill, 2006). It is against these negative self-feelings that maladaptive narcissism is directed. Maladaptive narcissism may take the form of willful manipulation and exploitation of others, with an emphasis on power (e.g., Emmons, 1984). Or, because maladaptive narcissism requires admiration from others, it may produce a hypersensitivity to perceived slight or failed appreciation on the part of others (c.f. Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). Thus, over the long run, maladaptive narcissism is likely to have negative repercussions, especially in the realm of interpersonal relations (Millon, 1990, Morf and Rhodewalt, 1993, Morf and Rhodewalt, 2001, Paulhus, 1998, Rhodewalt, 2005, Rhodewalt and Morf, 1998 and Smalley and Stake, 1996). Therefore, maladaptive narcissism is likely to negatively impact psychological health. Contemporary researchers have made this distinction between healthy and maladaptive forms of narcissism when creating measurement methods. The widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988) includes three scales that assess adaptive narcissism, and two that assess maladaptive narcissism (Cramer, 1995, Raskin et al., 1991 and Watson and Biderman, 1993). A further distinction among types of narcissism has been made by Wink, 1991a, Wink, 1991b and Wink, 1992. Based on a factor analysis of Q-sort (Block, 1971) ratings, Wink’s scales differentiate among healthy narcissism (autonomous), and two types of maladaptive narcissism: overt (willfulness) and covert (hypersensitivity). Overt narcissism is seen in grandiosity and condescension; covert narcissism is seen in sensitivity to slights, based on the need to maintain a grandiose self-image ( Rhodewalt & Morf, 1995). Both of these measures of maladaptive narcissism have been shown to correlate with measures of psychopathology ( Wink, 1992). Research with both the NPI and Q-sort measures demonstrates the difference between adaptive and maladaptive narcissism: adaptive narcissism contributes to positive development and non-defensive self-esteem, whereas maladaptive narcissism is related to indices of maladjustment (e.g., Cramer, 1995, Emmons, 1984, Raskin et al., 1991, Watson and Biderman, 1993, Wink, 1991b and Wink, 1992). 1.3. Separation/individuation and narcissism In healthy development, separation from the parents and the development of an individuated self proceeds during late adolescence and emerging adulthood. This is facilitated by the presence of adaptive narcissism which supports and frees the emerging adult to develop his/her own goals, values and self-motivated striving. Under optimal circumstances, adult development is supported by this healthy narcissism; the individual becomes successful and accomplished, and from these achievements in reality s/he develops further healthy narcissism. Under less optimal conditions, separation/individuation is more difficult. Recent research has demonstrated that both insufficient and excessive parental gratification are precursors to adult maladaptive narcissism (Otway & Vignoles, 2006) and to low implicit self-esteem (DeHart, Pelham, & Tennen, 2006). Such a deficit of healthy narcissism, as a result of early experience, can result in feelings of distrust or contempt toward others—i.e., in maladaptive narcissism. At the same time, the person continues to be dependent on others for positive feedback to regulate self-esteem and provide narcissistic gratification (Kohut, 1977, Masterson, 1988, Millon, 1981, Morf and Rhodewalt, 1993 and Morf and Rhodewalt, 2001). This maladaptive need for narcissistic gratification interferes with individuation and becoming autonomous, because the individual continues to look to others for gratification. The positive regard of others, in conjunction with maladaptive narcissism, serves to bolster the self-esteem of the non-individuated individual. However, this arrangement inevitably leads to intrapsychic conflict. In order to develop healthy, adaptive narcissism, based on personal goals, values, and achievement, the individual must establish a separate identity. The continuing attachment to others for the purpose of narcissistic gratification interferes with psychological separation/individuation. Thus the unhealthy narcissist is caught in an insoluble conflict situation. On the one hand, s/he may remain attached and obtain some gratification through attachments to parents or admired others, but the closeness required to obtain this gratification promotes anxiety because it threatens the process of individuation. On the other hand, s/he may separate, hoping for self-esteem that will derive from personal success and accomplishment, but the fear of separation and the loss of narcissistic gratification from others will be devastating. This anxiety about separation and loss of attachment that characterize the unhealthy narcissist has been demonstrated empirically by McGregor, Nail, Marigold, and Kang (2005). As described by Campbell and Foster (2002), there is an “interdependence” between the narcissist and the idealized other—the relationship “represents a compromise between attachment and risk” (p. 492). In sum, the failure to individuate, to develop an autonomous self, may result in the development of maladaptive narcissism. Such narcissism functions to protect the individual from experiencing disappointment and disillusionment associated with the failure to achieve unrealistic, grandiose goals (Westen, 1990, p. 216), and from recognizing a poorly articulated, “false” self (Miller, 1981). However, the inability to separate and become autonomous, and the resulting maladaptive narcissism, may be expected to impede psychological growth and ultimately, psychological health. 1.4. Separation/individuation and identification In order to avoid the anxiety associated with separation/individuation during late adolescence, the defense mechanism of identification plays an important role, both in the process of separation and in the development of a sense of self—i.e., of identity. As the late adolescent is in the process of separating from parents, the use of the defense of identification has been found to increase (Cramer, 1987, Cramer, 1995, Cramer, 1998 and Porcerelli et al., 1998) and provides the kind of security that eventually will derive from a secure sense of self. Among college students, for whom separation/individuation is occurring, and who are only weakly identified with their parents, the defense of identification has been shown to be positively associated with their ability to develop a consolidated, achieved identity status (Cramer, 2001). Identification is a complex defense mechanism. Like all defenses, it is part of normal development. Its early manifestation may be seen in young children imitating parents and taking on aspects of the parents’ behavior and attitudes. Identification may function as a defense mechanism when it is used to reduce negative affect or to protect self-esteem. For example, through identification with an admired, powerful figure, the individual may acquire a view of him/herself as admired and powerful. Or, the grief associated with the loss of a loved one may be ameliorated by taking on some characteristics of that person, or by modeling oneself to be like that individual, thereby re-establishing closeness. In adolescence, identifying with a group or significant other protects the individual from feelings of loneliness, isolation, and vulnerability. Identification is a way of continuing an attachment to another and thus reducing the anxiety associated with separation.1 Although research shows that the use of identification during late adolescence increases, we would expect that reliance on this defense beyond the period of late adolescence would ordinarily decrease, once the young adult has established a clear identity. There is some evidence that, on average, the relative importance of identification does decline in adulthood (Cramer, 2003 and Cramer and Block, 1998). However, we suggest that continued adult use of identification in the context of maladaptive narcissism may result in psychological problems. Reliance on the defense mechanism of identification for narcissistic gratification might be expected to interfere with psychological health, since admiring oneself based on being like someone else interferes with independent development. 1.5. Maladaptive narcissism, identification, and separation/individuation Maladaptive narcissism and the defense mechanism of identification have been shown to function in a reciprocal relation, as discussed above. However, theory suggests that the self-esteem of the non-individuated individual is sustained through both processes. An especially important aspect of defensive identification for the narcissist is that the qualities of the other are taken into the self and experienced as his/her own. The wish to be powerful and admired is connected to an attempt to acquire such competence through association with admired others, as though accomplishment, success, or admiration could be attained through association. Further, the wished-for characteristics include not only the admired skills of the other, but also the imagined admiration of the other (Campbell, 1999 and Menaker, 1995). Thus, identification provides a means to acquire both the admired characteristics of the other and the other’s positive image of him/herself (Menaker, 1995). Again, however, there is a potential problem. The “other” with whom the narcissist identifies must perceive and reflect the individual in a way that is consistent with and supports the individual’s own desired self-image, with the result that the narcissist may be highly sensitive to apparent “slights” (Masterson, 1988 and Menaker, 1995). But the dependency of this self-image on identification with the other again interferes with the development of an autonomous self—i.e., interferes with psychological health. 1.6. Hypotheses (1) On the basis of previous research, we expect that maladaptive narcissism will be negatively related and healthy narcissism will be positively related to psychological health. (2) Previous research also suggests that identification, on its own, will be positively related to psychological health. (3) However, identification, when it occurs in conjunction with maladaptive narcissism, will predict a decrease in psychological health. The excessive conflict created when both processes are operative will have a negative effect on psychological health.