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The influence of narcissism and self-control on reactive aggression
h [electronic resource] /
by Melissa Harrison.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
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Dissertation (PHD)--University of South Florida, 2010.
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ABSTRACT: The empirical literature to date has indicated that narcissism is associated with reactive aggression; however, exactly why narcissists respond with aggression to provocation is yet to be determined. The present paper is an exploration of two possible means through which a lack of self-control could be an important predictor involved in narcissists' aggressive behavior: 1) a lack of self-control could explain the link between narcissism and aggression, and 2) the combination of insufficient self-control and narcissism could increase the likelihood of aggressive response to provocation. To explore these possibilities, an experiment was conducted in which 214 participants were first administered measures of narcissism and self-control. Then, random assignment determined whether the participant would be provoked through negative feedback on his/her performance. Participants were provided opportunities to aggress on two measures: 1) an evaluation of another's performance, 2) open-ended responses to a situational vignette. There were two major areas of focus in the results of the study. First, the effect of provocation was examined. As expected, provoked participants provided more aggressive responses on the evaluation of their peer than nonprovoked participants; however, provocation did not affect aggression on the situational vignette. Narcissism was associated with aggression on the situational vignette and not on the evaluation. These findings point to the strength of the situation in the prediction of behavior as it was only when provocation did not produce an effect that personality had a significant influence on aggression. Second, the relationships among narcissism, self-control and aggression were examined. Narcissism was associated with low self-control as expected. Stepwise linear regression revealed a significant interaction between narcissism and self-control in the prediction of physical aggression in response to the situational vignette. The moderation effect of self-control and narcissism on physical aggression indicates that the combination of high narcissism and low self-control is important in predicting physical aggression. Additional post-hoc exploratory analyses suggest some overlap in the measures. Thus, suggestions for future research and methods of reducing the overlap in construct during measurement are provided.
Advisor: John Cochran, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
The Influence of Narcissism and Self Control on Reactive Aggression b y Melissa L. Harrison A dissertation submitted in p artial fulfillment o f the requirements for the degree of Doctor of P hiloso p hy De p artment of Criminology College of Beha vioral and Community Sciences University of South Florida Co Major P rofessor: John Cochran, P h.D. Co Major P rofessor: Kristine Jacquin, P h.D. Shayne Jones, P h.D. Randy Borum, Psy.D. Michael Lynch, P h.D. Date of A pp roval: November 5, 2010 Keywords: reactive aggression, self control, narcissism, gender, im p ulsivity Co p yright 2010, Melissa L. Harrison
Dedication I dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Glenn and Cindy Harrison, who have taught me to forfeit short term profits for long term go als and to my boyfriend, Michael Loberg, who has been patient and supportive while I strived to achieve those goals.
Acknowledgments First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my Co Chair, Dr. Kristine Jacquin, for her consistent generosity with her time, her mentorship, and her support throughout this dissertation, and across my graduate career. I would also like to thank the other members of my dissertation committee, Dr. John Cochran, Dr. Shayne Jones, Dr. Randy Borum, and Dr. Michael Lyn ch for their insight, constructive criticism, and support. Dr. Christopher Sullivan is also due thanks as he kindly provided me with his time and his advice during his service on this dissertation committee and his input helped to shape the product into th e final version that is in print today. I would like to acknowledge the help of several research assistants who collected data for this project: Robert Turner, Beth Piazza, Robin Mitchell, Chris Carden, Erica Hodges Sykes, Amber Hall, West Brewer, Ginger W ood Stringer, Suzanne Hatchett, Kris Giacone, James Russell, Kenya Conway.
i Table of Contents List of Tables ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... iii List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... iv Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... v Chapter One: Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 1 Chapter Two: Theoretical and Empirical Background on the Relationship s among Narcissism, Self Control and Aggression ................................ ................................ ... 5 Subtypes of Aggression ................................ ................................ ........................... 6 Provocation and Aggression ................................ ................................ .................... 9 Definition and Measurement of Narcissism ................................ .......................... 10 Narcissism and Aggression ................................ ................................ .................... 12 Narcissism and Insufficient Self Control ................................ ............................... 14 Empirical Studies of Narcissi sm Self Control and Aggression ............................ 20 Limitations of Past Research ................................ ................................ ................. 22 Measurement of Aggression ................................ ................................ ...... 22 Med iators of Reactive Aggression ................................ ............................. 24 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 25 Hy potheses of the Current Study ................................ ................................ ........... 26 Chapter Three: Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 29 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 30 Manipulated Variable ................................ ................................ ............................. 31 Measu res of Individual Difference ................................ ................................ ........ 32 Demographics ................................ ................................ ............................ 32 Narcissism ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 32 Self Control ................................ ................................ ................................ 33 Measures of Aggression ................................ ................................ ......................... 34 Evaluation of Confederate ................................ ................................ ......... 34 Th e Social Problem Solving Task ................................ ............................. 34 Aggressive Responses on SPST ................................ ................................ 37 Manipulation Check ................................ ................................ ............................... 37 Post Experiment Qu estionnaire ................................ ................................ 37 Planned Analyses ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 38
ii C hapter Four: Analytic Results ................................ ................................ .......................... 40 Manipulation Check ................................ ................................ ............................... 40 Preliminary Analyses ................................ ................................ ............................. 42 Validation o f Social Problem Solving Task ................................ ............... 42 Univariate Analyses ................................ ................................ ............................... 44 Investigation of Po tential Confounding Variables ................................ ................. 46 Tests of Hyp otheses ................................ ................................ ............................... 47 Analytic Plan ................................ ................................ .............................. 47 Test of Hypothesis 1: Provoked Participants React with Greater Aggression th an Those Who are Not Provoked ................................ ...... 48 Test of Hypothesis 2: Individuals High in Narcissism are More aggressive than Individuals Low in Narcissism ................................ ...... 49 Test of Hypothesis 3: Narcissism is Expected to Moderate the Relationship betwe en Provocation and Aggression ................................ 50 Test of Hypothesis 4: Narcissism is Negatively Associated with Self Control ................................ ................................ ............................. 51 Test of Hypothesis 5: Self Control is Negatively Associated w ith Aggression ................................ ................................ .............................. 51 Test of Hypothesis 6: The Significant Relationship between Narcissism and Aggression is Rendered Nonsignificant with the Inclusion of Low Self Control ................................ ................................ 52 Test of Hypothesis 7: Self Control Moderates the Relationship between Narcissism and Aggression ................................ ...................... 55 Post Hoc Exploratory Analyses ................................ ................................ ............. 59 Chapter Five: Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 Effect of Provocation on Aggression ................................ ................................ ..... 61 Narcissism and Aggression ................................ ................................ .................... 64 Self Control and Aggression ................................ ................................ .................. 68 Gender Differences in Self Contro l, Aggression, and Narcissism ........................ 69 Narc issism Self Control and Aggression ................................ .............................. 70 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 71 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 72 Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 75 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 76 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 77 Works Consulted ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 91 Appendix A: Evaluations Sheet ................................ ................................ ......................... 99
iii List of Tables Table 1. Categories Used to Score Social Problem Sol ving Task with Exa mples from Provoking Vignette ................................ ................................ .......................... 36 Table 2. Repeated Measures t Tests Comparing Percent of Aggressive Responses on Provoking and Nonpro voking Situational Vignettes ................................ .......... 41 Table 3. Intercorre lations among Study Variables ................................ ............................ 43 Table 4. Descript ive Statistics for Overall Sample and by Gender ................................ ... 45 Table 5. Regression Models Examining the Effects of Provocation, Narcissism and Self Control on the Total Percentage of Ag gressive Responses to the SPST ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 56 Table 6. Regression Models Examining the Effec ts of Provocation, Narcissism and Self Control on the Percentage of Physically Agg ressive Responses to the SPST ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 57 Table 7. Regression Models Assessing Self Control as a Predictor of Aggression ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 60
iv List of Figures Figure 1. Model of the Relati onships among Narcissism, Insufficient Self Control, and Aggression ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 25 Figure 2. Effects of Narcissism and insufficient self c ontrol on physical aggression ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 58 Figure 3. Model of the Process through which the Situation and the Person Affected Aggressive B e havior in the Present Study ................................ ................. 72
v Abstract The em p irical literature to date has indicated that narcissism is associated with reactive aggression; however, exactly why narcissists res p ond with aggression to p rovocation is yet to be determined. The p resen t p a p er is an exploration of two possible means through which a lack of self control could be an important predictor involved in a lack of self control could explain the link between narcissism and aggression, and 2) th e combination of insufficient self control and narcissism could increase the likelihood of aggressive response to provocation. To explore these possibilities, an experiment was conducted in which 214 participants were first administered measures of narcis sism and self control. Then, random assignment determined whether the participant would be provoked through negative feedback on his/her performance. Participants were provided opportunities to ance, 2) open ended responses to a situational vignette. There were two major areas of focus in the results of the study. First, the effect of provocation was examined. As expected, provoked participants provided more aggressive responses on the evaluatio n of their peer than nonprovoked participants; however, provocation did not affect aggression on the situational vignette. Narcissism was associated with aggression on the situational vignette and not on the evaluation. These findings point to the strength of the situation in the prediction of behavior as it was only
vi when provocation did not produce an effect that personality had a significant influence on aggression. Second, the relationships among narcissism, self control and aggression were examined. Nar cissism was associated with low self control as expected. Stepwise linear regression revealed a significant interaction between narcissism and self control in the prediction of physical aggression in response to the situational vignette The moderation eff ect of self control and narcissism on physical aggression indicates that the combination of high narcissism and low self control is important in predicting physical aggression. Additional post hoc exploratory analyses suggest some overlap in the measures. Thus, suggestions for future research and methods of reducing the overlap in construct during measurement are provided.
1 Cha p ter One Introduction Narcissism has been associated with ag gressive res p onses to negative feedback ( Barry, Chaplin, & Grafema n, 2006; Bushman & Baumeister, 1998 ; Stucke & S p orer, 2002 ) delayed feedback (Martinez Zeichner, Reidy, & Miller, 2008), and social rejection (Twenge & Cam p bell, 2003) Exactly why narcissism is associated with aggression in response to provocation has not been determined. Recent empirical research on self regulation suggests that a lack of self control underlies narcissism (Vohs, Baumeister, & Ciarocco, 2005). Given the relationship between low self control and control could be responsible for the aggressive outcomes of the trait. While researchers have recently theorized that a lack of self control may be this proposition have been conducted. Additionally, the existing research has ignored the role of agency or the cognitive decision making process of the individual. The present study was conducted to explore the link between narcissism and aggression using a cognitive mea sure of insufficient self control. The study not only assesses maladaptive schemas that may predispose narcissists toward reactive aggression but also the actual
2 decision making processes that occur when an individual is confronted with a provoking situati on. Growing a pp reciation of the cognitive p redictors of behavior in the fields of p sychology and criminology was recently em p address to the American Society of Criminology in which he p romoted the im p ortance of rationa l choice in the study of criminal behavior (Nagin, 2007). Measures of decision making p rocesses are becoming more common as social scientists seek to understand the rational choices that individuals make and the cognitive schemas that guide those decisions This movement toward cognitive explanations of behavior is evidenced by more recent revisions to major theories in the fields of criminology and psychology such aggression hypothesis, which have both incorporated cognitive components in the understanding of behavior enacted in response to a perceived provocation (Agnew, 2001; Berkowitz, 1989). Cognitive factors have been found to be particularly important to the study of aggressive behavior. Dodg have informed researchers regarding how youth make decisions related to aggressive behavior, and how to change those decision making processes (Dodge, 1980; Dodge, Lochman, Harnish, Bates, & Pettit 1997). Social Information Processing involves: 1) encoding social cues, 2) attributing intentions to other parties, 3) generating potential responses, 4) evaluating the consequences of responses, and 5) selecting a response, and 6) engaging in the select ed response (Dodge, Pettit, McClaskey, & Brown, 1986). Dodge against their peers who are perceived to have aggressive intentions even in ambiguous
3 situations This cogn itive bias can be identified and addressed to reduce aggression among youth. Ho wever, the studies on Social Information Processing have been conducted primarily on children, with few studies assessing cognitive factors that influence adult aggressive behav ior. The present study attempts to address this gap in the literature by assessing the link between narcissism and aggression more closely by paying particular attention to the role of cognitive processes. That is, the decision making process is assessed to gain compared to children, it is likely that cognitive bias manifests as a more ingrained and patterned way of responding to the environment. Young (1994) describ es such patterned cognitive responses as early maladaptive schemas, or dysfunctional ways that one patterned behaviors and solidify their views of the world, others, and the mselves. Thus, changing such ingrained schemas is an involved, lengthy task. This does not mean that the task is impossible. Young has developed a therapy specifically for cognitive restructuring of such maladaptive schemas (Young, 1994). Thus, if maladapt ive schemas can be identified among adults, and these schemas are associated with aggressive behavior, then this knowledge is worth attaining as even adults can be cognitively rehabilitated. Young (1994) describes several maladaptive schemas, one of whic h may be particularly important in the understanding of narcissistic aggression; that is insufficient self control. Young defines insufficient self control as a lack of impulse restraint and a Young, Kl osko, & Weishaar, 2003 ).
4 Young describes early maladaptive schemas as leading to negative consequences for the individual; however, the individual continues to make the same choices that lead to the negative consequences. Thus, among those with a cognitive schema of insufficient self control, the decision to engage in behaviors that provide more immediate reward despite long term negative consequences would be repeated across situations. In summary, the p resent study explores the relationships among narcis sism, insufficient self control and aggression While a number of measures of self control exist, the current p roject was designed to test a cognitive measure ta pp ing malada p tive schemas. Thus, in the p resent p a p er, a cognitive measure of insufficient self control is a pp making p rocesses that lead to aggressive behavior.
5 Cha p ter Two Theoretical and Em p irical Background on the Relationships among Narcissism, Self Control and Aggression Sur p risin gly, an agreed u p on definition of aggression has eluded researchers des p ite the vast amount of research conducted on the to p ic. The majority of definitions in the field of p sychology ( Anderson & Bushman, 2002 ) have indicated that aggression is behavior int ended to harm another who is motivated to avoid being harmed. Thus, an individual must intend to harm another to be considered aggressive accidentally p u r p ose is an act of aggression. Additionally, the victim must not be a consenting p artici p ant in the behavior. A sexual masochist who seeks p hysical p unishment from others would not be a victim of aggression ( Anderson & Bushman, 2002). In laboratory studies aggression has been o p erationalized in a variety of ways including p hysiological res p onse such as change in blood p ressure (Ahmad & Lee, 2001) or testosterone (Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle, & Schwarz, 1996), p hysical attack through administration of electric s hock (Giancola, 2002a, b; Giancola et al., 2002; Taylor, 1967), or verbal insult often p p erformance or p ersonality (Bell, 1980; Jacquin, Harrison, & Alford, 2006; Roh senow & Bachorowski,
6 1984). Various labor atory measures of aggression, both verbal and p hysical, are highly correlated indicating they are likely to be measuring the same general construct (Carlson, Marcus Newhall, & Miller, 1989). Importantly, none of the behavioral or verbal measures of aggres sion that are frequently used to study adult aggressive behavior measure the decision making process of the individual. For example, the dependent variable is commonly measured as the duration or intensity of electric shock selected for an opponent, the in tensity of noise blasts administered to another, or the feedback situation, comparing aggressive and non aggressive alternatives, is largely ignored. Subtypes of Aggressio n Individuals are not only generating responses regarding whether to behave aggressively in response to a situation, but they are also making decisions regarding the type of aggressive behavior to enact. P hysical aggression, such as hitting or p ushing ano ther p erson, is more common among young boys than girls. Verbal aggression, such as insulting or threatening another p erson is also commonly exhibited in young boys. However, p assive (or indirect) aggression, such as giving another the silent treatment or s p reading rumors about him/her, is more common among females (Crick & Grot p eter, 1995). Crick and Grot p enacted with the motive of harming inter p ersonal relationshi p s by ostracizing someone from a grou p or withdrawing friendshi p Campbell (1995) theorizes that females are more likely to become injured in a physically aggressive confrontation than males. Thus, females tend to engage in less direct forms of aggression. Therefore, the form of
7 aggres sion to be used is cognitively selected, many times at an unconscious level, based on how advantageous it will be for the individual. The idea that individuals are engaging in the types of aggressive action that will benefit them most is also highlighted i n the developmental research on aggressive behavior. While it has been established that p hysical aggression p eaks at a pp roximately age two, it is p ossible that p hysical aggression is re p laced by other forms of aggressive behavior, such as indirect aggressi on, that are more socially acce p ted (Tremblay & Nagin, 2005; Vitaro, Brendgen, & Barker, 2006). Bjorkqvist and colleagues have theorized that as individuals develo p social and verbal skills, indirect forms of aggression are chosen rather than overt p hysica l or verbal aggression (Bjorkqvist, Lagers p etz, & Kaukiainen, 1992). Indirect aggression is less likely to draw attention and p unishment, yet is viewed as harmful to victims, resulting in the same ultimate goal. Thus, individuals confronted with a situatio n in which aggression could be used as a response, are selecting a specific form of aggression through a cognitive process based on past experience and expectations for specific consequences. Yet cognitive processes have been particularly ignored in the un derstanding of reactive aggression (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Dodge and Coie (1987) originally p ro p osed the distinction between p roactive and reactive aggression. P roactive aggression, t is exerted to reach a goal. For exam p le, an inmate who is new to the p rison may attack another inmate for the sole p ur p ose of establishing status and thus gaining res p ect of others. The aggressor in this situation would have much to gain from his act if he can kee p himself from being
8 aggression, is that which is enacted in res p onse to some p erceived p rovocation. In this same hy p othetical scenario, the inmate who was attacked may res p ond with aggression as well. His behavior would be classified more accurately as reactive in that he was p rovoked by the initiator of the aggressive interaction. Reactive aggression is im p ulsive rather than p the p hysiological arousal are heightened, as a result of p rovocation. In contrast, p roactive aggression is p lanned, cold blooded and un p rovoked. Because reactive aggression is viewed as emotional and unplanned, theory and r esearch on the behavior has failed to incorporate cognitive factors into the understanding of the aggression (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Bushman and Anderson describe problems with the dichotomous categorization. For example, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Columbine school shooters, claimed to have been rejected from their peers and been reacting to that sense of isolation when they responded with violence. This would lead one to categorize them as engaging in reactive aggression. At the same time, the boys had constructed plans and even a timeline of events for the shooting revenge that they ultimately implemented. This type of forethought would be classified as proactive aggression. Research has found that there is some overlap in the two types of aggr ession as the scales of reactive and proactive aggression are strongly correlated with reported r Dodge & Coie, 1987; Munoz, Frick, Kimonis, & Aucoin, 2008; Vitaro, Gendreau, Tremblay, & Oligny,1998) Thus, wh ile researchers originally theorized that emotion was most important in understanding reactive aggression and cognitive factors were of primary importance to the understanding of proactive aggression, the categorization may have restricted research
9 efforts beyond what is accurately representing human behavior. Instead, both emotion and cognitive factors are likely to play a part in aggression, whether that aggression is reactive or proactive (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Therefore, the reactive aggression lit erature, which has primarily focused on the emotional process of aggression, may be missing a key factor: the cognitive component. Provocation and Aggression Reactive aggression has been extensively studied in the ex p erimental literature. In fact, thousan ds of em p irical studies have revealed that p rovocation is one of the strongest p redictors of aggression. Researchers have o p erationalized p rovocation in a variety of ways such as recei p t of electric shock (Buss, 1961; Taylor, 1967), negative evaluation (Be rkowitz, Corwin, & Heironimus, 1962), verbal insult (Cohen et al., 1996), aversive noise blast ( Cleare & Bond, 1995 ), and loss of p oints on a com p etitive task (Check & Dyck, 1986). Aggression has been found to result from p rovocation regardless of the ty p e of p rovocation administered or the measure of aggression used ( Carlson et al., 1989 ). Aggression is not a common behavior, p articularly among college students who are often the p artici p ants in p sychological ex p eriments. Thus, in ex p erimental studies, ag gression must be induced, or instigated, to be measured and analyzed. Several guises are commonly used to generate aggression in p sychological ex p eriments. P o p ular scenarios used in the laboratory over the p ast four decades have been the teacher/learner p a radigm (Buss, 1961), the reaction time task (Taylor, 1967), essay evaluation (Berkowitz et al., 1962), and verbal insult (Cohen et al., 1996). Both the teacher/learner p aradigm and the reaction time task (Taylor, 1967) ty p ically use electric shock intens ity or duration as a measure of aggression with a guise
10 for the ex p eriment such that the p artici p ant administers an electric shock to p unish the learner or during a com p etitive game res p ectively. In the essay evaluation scenario, p artici p ants are p rovoked through a negative evaluation of their own work or o p inions and then p resented with an o pp ortunity to reci p rocate through evaluation of the p rovocateur (Berkowitz et al., 1962; Harmon Jones & Sigelman, 2001). Individuals who are insulted by another, who re ceive greater intensity shocks from an o pp onent, or who are given negative evaluations are more likely to aggress than those who are not p rovoked. This causal relationshi p has been shown to exist for both genders and to exist across ex p erimental and field studies (Anderson & Bushman, 1997; Bettencourt & Miller, 1996). In fact, the body of existing research has led p sychologists to state that p p 2004). However, not all individua ls who are p rovoked will aggress in reaction. It is individual differences (e.g., trait anger, p oor executive cognitive functioning, narcissism, im p ulsivity) that interact with the situational p rovocation and lead to aggressive behavior (Bettencour t, Talle y, Benjamin, & Valentine 2006; Gaincola, 2002b; Santor, Ingram, & Kusumakar, 2003). One p ersonality factor that has been found to increase the likelihood of aggression in reaction to p rovocation is narcissism. Definition and Measurement of Narcissism Nar cissism is broadly defined as an extreme love of self. According to Greek myth, Narcissus was a man with many suitors, who found none of them to live u p to his high standard. That is, until he sto pp ed to drink from a p ool of water and saw his reflection. N arcissus, enamored with his mirror image, realized he would never find
11 anyone as p erfect as himself. He continued to gaze at his reflection until he died (Hamilton, 1942). The American P sychiatric Association (2000) defines Narcissistic P ersonality Disorde r (N P p ervasive p attern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of em p Diagnositic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2000). Nine criteria are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM IV TR ; 2000 ) describing the behavioral indicants of N P D. Specifically, according to DSM IV TR, narcissism is characterized by: 1) a sense of grandiosity, 2) preoccupation with success/power, 3) a sense of entitlement, 4) belief that one is special, 5) need for admira tion, 6) lack of empathy, 7) jealousness or belief that others are jealous of him/her, 8) arrogance, and 9) interpersonal exploitation. An individual may be diagnosed with NPD by meeting at least five of the nine criteria. Thus, some heterogeneity within t he disordered grou p would be ex p ected to exist. The p revalence of clinical Narcissistic P ersonality Disorder among the general p o p ulation is est imated to be about 1% or less ( DSM IV TR ; 2000). This estimate may be biased downward, though, as most individu als with N P D are unlikely to seek treatment for the disorder, as they often lack insight into the malada p tiveness of their behavior. Regardless of estimates of clinical narcissism within the general p o p ulation, it is likely that narcissism exists on a cont inuum with many p eo p le p ossessing some narcissistic characteristics and a few p resenting with p athological N P D. For the p ur p ose of the p resent p a p dimension of narcissism, and not a cat egorical diagnosis. The most commonly administered dimensional measurement of narcissism is the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979). The NPI was developed
12 based on the DSM III criteria for NPD; yet, until recently little empirica l research had been conducted to determine the relationship between the NPI and diagnostic NPD. Miller and colleagues (2009) conducted a study to determine the relationship between narcissism scores on the NPI and clinical ratings of narcissism based on th e Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Personality Disorders (SCID II; First, Gibbon, Spitzer, & Williams, 1997; Miller, Gaughan, Pryor, Kamen, & Campbell, 2009). The researchers found a significant correlation between narcissism scores on the two meas ures among both a clinical sample ( r = .54) and a nonclinical (undergraduate student) sample ( r = .59). While the correlations are strong, there is variability in the two measures as shown in the lack of perfect correlation. Research has indicated that one major difference between NPD and the NPI is that narcissism measured with the NPI is associated with high extraversion, an association not found among those with clinical NPD (Miller & Campbell, 2008; Miller et al., 2009). Extraversion, according to the F ive Factor Model (Costa & McCrae, 1992) consists of warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity and excitement seeking (Miller & Campbell, 2008). Thus, individuals who score high on the NPI may differ in some respects from those with NPD; and therefore the results of research using the NPI may not generalize to clinical populations. Because aggression has been found to be associated with the NPI, and the present study is an investigation of the association of narcissism and aggression, there is little concern whether the NPI generalizes to NPD in the study of this relationship. Narcissism and Aggression As stated before, several em p irical studies using the NPI to measure narcissism among adults have revealed that aggression is associated with narcissism Narcissism has
13 been associated with ag gressive res p onses to negative feedback ( Barry et al., 2006; Bushman & Baumeister, 1998 ; Stucke & S p orer, 2002 ) delayed feedback (Martinez Zeichner, Reidy, & Miller, 2008), and social rejection (Twenge & Cam p bell, 2003) In each of the studies of narcissism and aggression, p rovocation was used to create a threat to the ego of the narcissist. Thus, narcissism has been associated with reactive aggression in experimental studies, but not necessarily with proactive aggr ession. Thus, provocation may be a particularly important situational elicitor of aggression among narcissists. Relying on the established literature linking narcissism to reactive aggression, Baumeister and colleagues develo p ed a theory of narcissistic ag gression focusing on the ego threat as the antecedent of the aggressive res p onse (Baumeister, Smart, & Boden, 1996). However, exactly why narcissists are more likely to react with aggression to p rovocation (or ego threat) has not been fully ex p lained. Baum eister and colleagues than that of less egotistical individuals in society. Yet, this ex p lanation of aggression is somewhat tautological ; n arcissists are more likel y to aggress in reaction to p rovocation because they are more sensitive to p rovocation. Clearly, another theory more ex p lanatory of the narcissism aggression relationshi p is needed. P sychologists have p ro p osed several latent constructs as the source of the linkage between narcissism and aggression. A lack of self esteem is often blamed for the p resentation of narcissistic characteristics based on the theoretical notion that underlying a faade of grandiosity and entitlement is self doubt and a sense of infe riority (Kernberg, 1975). Yet, em p irical study has drawn a more com p licated p icture of the narcissism/self esteem relationshi p
14 Narcissism has not always been associated with low self esteem, but has been associated with both low and with high self esteem Narcissism associated with low self esteem is theoretically considered to be of greater concern with res p ect to aggressive behavior ( Sandstrom, 2010; Witt, Donnellan, & Trzesniewski, 2010 ). Yet, Baumeister and colleagues p ro p ose that it is just the o pp os ite, an inflated self view combined with an ego threat, that leads to aggres sion (Baumeister et al. 1996). It is p ossible that self esteem is not ex p lanatory of narcissistic aggression at all. In a study conducted by Baumeister and Bushman (1998) self est eem did not affect the likelihood of aggression among narcissists. Given the p revious literature, the construct of self esteem has thus far failed to ex p lain narcissistic aggression. Narcissism and Insufficient Self Control There is reason to believe that another construct, lack of self control, underlies narcissistic behavior, and may be more important in understanding aggression among narcissists. It is p ossible that narcissists lack the self control necessary to restrain their behavior when p rovoked. Go ttfredson and Hirschi (1990) describe a general theory of crime p ro p osed to ex p lain all criminal and antisocial behavior, including aggression. As with all control theories, the underlying assum p tion of the general theory is that all p eo p le are inherently selfish and hedonistic and will engage in behaviors that further their own selfish goals regardless of the harm caused to others. Given human inclination to offend, there must be some form of constraint which inhibits the criminal behavior of individuals. According to the general theory, the source of control that kee p s most p eo p le from offending most of the time is a stable p ersonality trait, self control.
15 According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), self control develo p s through p arenting p ractices, a fo rm of social control, which eventually are internalized by the individual. S p ecifically, self control is develo p ed through a pp ro p riate p arenting and 3) p unishing the bad behavior. Inconsistent p arenting due to a la p se in any of the three elements of p arenting noted above would cause a failure at socialization, and therefore at instilling self control in the child. Thus, social control is necessary for self control to develo p In other words, individuals behave p rosocially at first to avoid p unishment from others in society and eventually because they have internalized social norms. Social control a pp ears to have limited influence over narcissists. As noted above, the self im p achievements or abilities (DSM IV TR; 2000). While narcissists will p resent the mselves falsely, the motive is not social acce p tance. Narcissists p rovide an overly favorable self p resentation for agentic traits such as intelligence and extraversion (Cam p bell, Rudich, & Sedikides, 2002) as well as attractiveness (Gabriel, Critelli, & E e, 1994). However, on communal traits such as agreeableness and morality, narcissists do not p resent as more favorable (Cam p bell et al., 2002). In fact, narcissism is consistently associated with low Agreeableness on the Five Factor Model of P ersonality (Miller & Cam p bell, 2008). Agreeableness measures p
16 (Graziano & Tobin, 2002, p .696). Thus, low agreeableness suggests that the narcissist is concerned more with himself tha n with those around him. p ect narcissists to score very high on a measure of socially desirable res p onse. Research has confirmed that, as ex p ected, narcissism is not associated with social desirability. In four studies conducted by Raskin and colleagues (1991), a significant association between narcissism and socially desirable res p onses was found in only one of the studies. The one significant correlation was a negative association indicating narcissism is linked to a lack of desire to p resent oneself in a manner that would heighten social acce p tance (Raskin, Novacek, & enhance, not for the p ur p ose of increasing social de sirability, but instead to indicate his su p eriority in com p seeking a pp concern for social acce p tance, social control is unlikely to restrain narcissists from behaviors such as aggression. of self control (Vohs, Baumeister, & Ciarocco, 2005). Vohs and colleagues theorized that self regulatio n, a form of behavioral self control, is required for a person to present himself as socially acceptable. In other words, it takes self control, or effort, to manage ones self presentation. Without this self control, an individual would naturally present h imself to others as he views himself in private, as being superior to others. Interestingly, Vohs and colleagues (2005) actually manipulated self regulatory resources. It is believed that engaging in a task that requires effort will reduce the effort
17 lef t to self regulate as though there is only a certain amount of energy for self regulation, participants completed a task that was designed to deplete them of their self regu latory resources. The task involved viewing a video of an interview that they were asked to assess while words flashed on the bottom of the screen. Participants who were depleted of their self regulation were asked to not read or look at the words flashing on the screen. It requires effort to attend to the interview and consistently avoid attending to the words flashing on the bottom of the screen. Participants who were assigned to another condition in which they were not depleted were not given any instruc tions regarding the words on the screen. People who were depleted of their self regulatory resources scored significantly higher on the NPI after completing the task than those who were not depleted (Vohs et al., 2005). People who were depleted of their self regulatory resources also scored lower on social desirability than those who were not depleted. Thus, when one has used all of his or her effort at restraint and is depleted of the ability to exert self control, the de an overly favorable self presentation. This indicates that it takes little effort to present oneself as superior to others, while it takes considerable effort and restraint to present oneself in a socially desirable light. Participants lacking the resou rces to make the effort to present themselves in a socially acceptable manner were responding in a manner that required the least effort, or the least self control. Thus, the narcissist who consistently fails to exert the effort to present himself in a soc ially desirable light, does so because he does not possess the self control required to manage his self presentation.
18 The tendency toward self enhancement ty p ical of narcissists, consistent with behaviors due to a lack of self control, p rovides p ositive so cial results for the short term, but detrimental social effects in the long term. For exam p le, in a study by P aulhus (1998), discussion grou p members rated themselves and their p eers on a number of qualities at initiation of the discussion grou p and then a gain after seven weekly discussion meetings. At the initial meeting, p eers described narcissists in p ositive terms noting qualities of confidence and intelligence. However, by the time of the seventh meeting, narcissists were viewed negatively and describe d as hostile braggarts. According to P aulhus, p eers may not be able to determine whether a narcissist is self enhancing or being truthful when describing his su p erior abilities at first contact. Over time, though, the boasting becomes more obviously inaccu rate in com p arison with his true abilities. Thus, the self enhancement of the narcissist p rovides immediate p ositive results, but a negative social outcome over time. If self enhancement leads to negative social consequences over time, then why do narcis sists continue to engage in the p ractice? The p ositive short term benefits may be strong enough that the narcissist continues to p ursue them. One of the p ositive short term benefits of self enhancement is a p ositive mood. Narcissists are more likely than o thers to ex p erience p ositive emotions as a result of com p aring themselves to others in a downward fashion (believing they are su p erior to or better than others; Bogart, Benotsch, & P avlovic, 2004). In a study conducted by Robins and Beer (2001), p artici p an ts were given a grou p task to com p lete. Narcissists were more likely to indicate that they were res p onsible for the success of the grou p on the task and ex p erienced p ositive affect as a result. Thus, the short term emotional boost due to self aggrandizemen t (evaluating
19 oneself as su p erior to others) or self unrealistically p ositive manner) serves as immediate gratification for the narcissist while the long term social consequence of the behavior is ignored ( P aul hus, 1998). Some have suggested that an overly p advantageous in the long term by motivating the individual to strive for lofty goals (Taylor & Brown, 1994). Yet, narcissists self re p ort unrealistically high academi c abilities, but this is not related to actual academic achievement over time or to graduation from college (Robins and Beer, 2001). Additionally, well being across time in the college environment decreases for narcissists. These em p irical findings refute any p resumed long term advantages of narcissism, and instead su pp ort the notion that there are long term negative consequences for such individuals. It is a pp arent, then, from the existing literature, that narcissistic behaviors are aimed at immediate grat ification and not long term goals. Preliminary correlational research also indicates there is a relationship between narcissism and low self control. Vazire and Funder (2006) conducted a meta analysis and found significant correlation between narcissism a nd low self control based on the effect size (weighted mean r = .41) across 23 correlations. Measures of low self control assessed by Vazire and Funder in the meta analysis included the self control scale of the California P ersonality Inventory (Gough, 195 7, 1987), the constraint scale of the Boredom P roneness Scale (Farmer & Sundberg, 1986), and ego undercontrol of the California Adult Q Set (Block, 1961). Vazire and Funder (2006) p ro p osed that narcissism may be related to malada p tive behaviors due to the im p ulsivity of the narcissist. Without
20 self aggressive reaction to provocation. Empirical Studies of Narcissism, Self Control and Aggression Miller and colleagues (2009) are the only researchers to have em p irically tested the ability of self control to ex p lain the relationshi p between narcissism and aggression. The researchers conducted two studies. Study one was an ex p eriment in which aggression was measured as frequency, durati on, and intensity of electric shock administered to an o pp onent in the reaction time task. In this study, rather than assess self control specifically, a related construct, im p ulsivity, was measured by the three subscales of the Barratt Im p ulsiveness Scale (BIS 11; P atton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995). The three subscales measure motor im p ulsiveness, lack of attention/concentration, and lack of p lanning. Im p ulsivity failed to account for the relationshi p between narcissism and p hysical aggression. However, as noted by the authors, the measure of im p ulsivity used was narrow in sco p e and only p hysical aggression was measured as a p otential outcome. Miller and colleagues (2009) stated that Vazire and Funder (2006) found a very high correlation between im p ulsivity and aggression and thus it is sur p rising that im p ulsivity failed to ex p lain the narcissism aggression relationshi p in the ex p eriment. One difference between the studies that may influence the results is the measure of im p ulsivity as a narrow conce p t in th e Barratt Im p ulsiveness Scale as com p ared to more global measures of low self control that were included in the meta analysis. As noted above, many of the measures used by Vazire and Funder were self control, rather than im p ulsivity measures and thus more global in sco p e.
21 As a means of testing the difference in ex p lanatory ability of a more global measure of self control, Miller and colleagues (2009) conducted a second study, utilizing contr ol (Tangney et al. 2004) The Tangney et al. scale was develo p ed to assess cognitive and emotional control, im p ulse control, behavior regulation, and habit breaking (Tangney et al., 2004). Miller and colleagues sought to determine whether this measure of self control could e x p lain several self defeating behaviors (e.g., risky sex, drinking p roblems). However, im p ortantly for the p resent p a p er, aggression was not measured. Thus, a measure of self control should be used to determine the association between narcissism and aggres sion, a behavioral outcome of the narcissistic p ersonality style. A measure of self control that may be particularly useful in understanding the Insufficient Self Control Scale According to Young, Early Malada p tive Schemas are cognitive structures individuals use to inter p ret and react to their environment. Young believed early ex p eriences were res p onsible for sha p ing individual differences that remain influential over the cour se of the lifetime ( Young, 1994 Self Control scale ( Schmidt Joiner, Young, & Telch, 1995) is one of 15 scales in a questionnaire assessing Early Malada p tive Schemas (EMSs). The EMS of Insufficient Self Control measures a lack of emo tional and behavioral restraint and an overall lack of self disci p line. Tremblay and Dozois (2009) recently p ublished the first em p irical test of the relationshi p Control scale and dis p ositional aggression. The authors f ound that Insufficient Self Control correlated significantly with
22 both p hysical ( r = .19, p < .001) and verbal ( r = .28, p < .001) aggression as measured by the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & P erry, 1992). In a study by Crawford and Wright (2010), insuff icient self control was found to p artially mediate the relationshi p between self re p orted ex p eriences of childhood maltreatment and aggressive behavior in adulthood as measured by the Aggression Questionnaire. Thus, p reliminary research would suggest that a cognitive measure of insufficient self control is associated with aggression, but exactly how this relates to narcissism and reactive aggression specifically, is unknown. While a global measure of self control may better account for the association betwe en narcissism and aggression as compared to a narrow measure of impulsivity, it is also possible that self control does not mediate the narcissism aggression relationship, but moderates the link. A combination of low self control and high narcissism would then be a potent combination making reactive aggression most likely. Researchers have yet to fully explore the relationships among narcissism, self control and aggression. Limitations of Past Research The existing ex p erimental re search on narcissism and aggression has two major limitations : 1 ) the measurement of aggression does not allow for an assessment of decision making p rocesses or limits behavioral choices, and 2 ) relationshi p s between and among variables fail to account for mediating factors. Each of these limitations is described below. Measurement of Aggression Much of the p revious ex p erimental research on adult reactive aggression has ignored the decision making p rocess that affects the de p endent variable. As Anderson
23 and Bushman (2002) have not ed, the p erce p tion of reactive aggression as a res p onse to anger has biased the research toward a model using affect as the sole mediator of the p rovocation aggression relationshi p although it is likely that cognitive p rocesses are also o p erative. The sta te of the decision making literature among adults is sur p rising considering decision making in aggressive res p onse among children has been extensively investigated. For exam p le, over 100 studies of Social Information P rocessing have been conducted with chi ld sam p les. Researchers ty p ically p resent children with p roblematic social situations and ask them to generate resolutions. The first res p onse to the p roblem is p ical behavioral res p onse based on cognitive scri p t models of social behavior. Cognitive scri p t models (Abelson, 1981) p ro p ose that individuals develo p scri p ts, or unconscious knowledge structures, that are re p eatedly followed. Indeed, the friendliness of the first res p onse p rovided by children has been neg atively associated with aggression (Mize & Cox 1992). Greater numbers of solutions generated by children are also believed to indicate social com p etency. Indeed, p roducing p erative p lay (M ize & Cox, 1992). Recently, situational vignettes have gained p o p ularity among researchers interested in adult affective res p onse and decision making p & Wu, 2001; Van Goozen, Frijda, Kindt, & Van de Poll, 1994). Several stu dies have been conducted to establish the validity of the situational vignette (Archer, 2004; p le choice answer format to obtain p artici p ant res p onses to the situation (e.g., Archer & B enson,
24 2008). As has been re p orted in p revious research using multi p le choice answers, p artici p ants may not see the res p onse they believe they would make in a p articular situation, or they may not understand the difference between two o p al., 2001). Additionally, reading the o p tions may influence the choice that p artici p ants make as demand cues become more salient. To circumvent this p roblem, a su p erior strategy would call for o p en ended res p onses to be generated by the p artici p ants. As su ch, the p resent study relies on this methodology. Mediators of Reactive Aggression While early laboratory studies of aggression focused on determining whether relationshi p s existed between various p redictive factors and aggression, more recent advancemen ts in analytic p rocedures have led to the study of the p rocess through which one variable affects another. Tests of mediation and moderation have become more frequent. Baron and Kenny (1986) describe four criteria necessary to determine mediation. In the c ontext of the current study, these criteria would be as follows: 1) narcissism must be significantly associated with aggression, 2) narcissism must be significantly associated with insufficient self control, 3) insufficient self control must be significant ly associated with aggression and 4) the significant relationshi p between narcissism and aggression should be rendered nonsignificant after the inclusion of insufficient self control. As mentioned above, it is also possible that the interaction of insuffic ient self control an d narcissism best accounts for reactive aggression. In this case, the effect of narcissism on reactive aggression would be expected to vary across level of self control. The model p resented in Figure 1 will be tested to examine the role of
25 insufficient self control as a mediator or a moderator of the relationshi p between narcissism and reactive aggression. Figure 1. Model of the relationshi p s among narcissism, insufficient self control, and aggression. Note. The re lationship between narcissism and aggression should be reduced to nonsignificant after inclusion of insufficient self control if self control is a mediator. Summary The em p irical literature to date has indicated that narcissism is associated with reacti ve aggression; however, exactly why narcissists res p ond with aggression to p rovocation is yet to be determined. The p resent p a p er is an exploration of two possible means through which a lack of self control could be an important predictor involved in narci a lack of self control could explain the link between narcissism and aggression, and 2) the combination of insufficient self control and narcissism could increase the likelihood of aggressive response to provocation. The fo behaviors that p rovide short term benefits at the ex p ense of long term costs such as their Narcissism Insufficient Self Control Aggression Provocation
26 lack of commitment in relationshi p s and inflated self p resentation. At the same time, it is possible that narcissism and insufficient self control each have effects on aggressive behavior, that when combined, are particularly likely to increase aggression. The p resent study was develo p ed as an ex p erimental investigation of the relationshi p s amo ng narcissism, self control and reactive aggression. As a means of addressing limitations of p ast research: 1) p artici p ants are both male and female, 2) multi p le measures of aggression are used including an o p en ended situational vignette, 3) mediation and moderation of variables is assessed to determine em p irical relationshi p s among the variables, 4) and a cognitive measure of self control is administered. Hypotheses of the Current Study To guide the methodological and analytic p rocedures f or the study, s ix hy p otheses were develo p ed. Below, a listing of the hy p otheses and summary of the rationale for each is described. First, it is ex p ected, based on p ast research, that p rovocation will lead to aggressive res p onse. Additionally, as found in p revious em p iri cal studies, narcissists are ex p ected to be particularly likely to react with aggression. Thus, the first two hy p otheses for the p resent study read as follows. H yp othesis 1: Provoked participants will react with greater aggression than those who are not pr ovoked. Hypothe sis 2: Individuals high in narcissism will be more aggressive than individuals low in narcissism. Further, a significant interaction between narcissism and p rovocation is ex p ected. Under p rovocation, individuals high in narcissism will p rov ide more aggressive res p onses than those low in narcissism. Because narcissism is associated with reactive
27 and not necessarily p roactive aggression, no difference in aggressive res p onse is ex p ected to exist between high and low narcissism grou p s under the no p rovocation condition. Therefore, hy p othesis three reads as follows: Hypothesis 3: Narcissism is expected to moderate the relationship between provocation and aggression. As a theoretical test of the relationship between narcissism and self control, an evaluation of the relationship between narcissism and a cognitive measure of self control will be conducted Narcissism is expected to be associated with low, and not high self control based on the empirical findings of Vazire and Funder (2006) as well as the theoretical bases described above, that narcissists tend to engage in behaviors that produce immediate gratification at the expense of long term negative consequences. Hypothesis 4: Narcissism will be negatively associated with self control. Because self control is ex p ected to ex p lain the relationshi p between narcissism and aggression, several hy p otheses have been develo p ed to test the ability of self control to mediate the narcissism aggression relationshi p Not only is narcissism is ex p ected to be a s sociated with low self control, low self control should be associated with aggression. Hypothesis 5: Self control will be negatively associated with aggression. Finally, given the ex p ected relationshi p s between narcissism, self control, and aggression, a test of the ability of self control as a mediator or a moderator of the narcissism aggression link will be conducted. Thus, two final hypotheses have been constructed.
28 Hypothesis 6: The significant relationship between narcissism and aggression will be rendered nonsignificant with the inclusion of low self control. Hypothesis 7:Low self control will moderate the relationship between narcissism and aggression.
29 Cha p ter Three Method As a means of testing the hy p otheses described above, an ex p erim ental design was em p loyed in which provocation could be manipulated. A guise for the study was p resented to p artici p ants to conceal the true hy p otheses of the study and reduce the likelihood of demand cues. During participant recruitment, the study was adv ertised as an investigation of communication styles. P artici p ants were informed that they would be evaluated by others and would be asked to p erform evaluations of their p communication skills. The p artici p ants were 214 undergraduate students from a large southern university with a mean age of 19.8 years ( SD = 3.03). Both males (43%) and females (57%) were included in the study with the majority self re p orting Caucasian (62.1%) or African American (34.1%) ethnicity. Recruitment for the study was cond ucted through the use of the online ex p eriment sign u p em p loyed for the subject p ool in the P sychology De p artment; thus most of the p artici p ants (73.4%) were freshmen or so p homores in college.
30 Procedure All p artici p ants com p leted the informed consent p rocess p rior to taking p art in the ex p eriment. An online sign u p system used by the P sychology De p artment p resented the study as an ex p eriment designed to advance scientific knowledge regarding communication styles. While an ex p erimenter welcomed three ind ividuals into the laboratory for each session, the ex p eriment was conducted with only one real p artici p ant and two confederate p eers. The ex p erimenter and confederates were always the same sex as the p artici p ant. First, p artici p ants com p leted a questionnai re p acket consisting of the demogra p hic sheet, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory Juvenile Offender Version, and the Insufficient Self Control Scale of the Schema Questionnaire (while confederates p retended to do so). Additional measures were administe red at this time, which will not be described here as they were not p ertinent to the p resent investigation. For the next p art of the study, the ex p erimenter asked two p artici p ants to discuss a to p ic while the third would evaluate their communication skil ls. The true p artici p ant was were given a list of discussion to p ics relevant to college student life (e.g., living on cam p us versus off cam p us, having a job during col lege versus not working). The confederate evaluator was given the task of rating his/her p eers from another room with a one way mirror and ear p hones to hear the discussion. The discussants were then p rovided with the feedback from the confederate p eer. Thi s feedback given to the p artici p ant was p redetermined by random assignment to be either negative as indicated by low ratings on the Likert ty p e items of the evaluation sheet and negative summary statements or p ositive as indicated by high ratings on the Li kert ty p e items of the evaluation sheet and p ositive
31 summary statements. The p eer confederate was always given neutral feedback which was visible to the p artici p ant. Next, the ex p erimenter requested that the discussants and the evaluator switch roles. The p artici p ants who had been evaluated would now evaluate their p eer and the evaluator would be evaluated. During this rating session the p artici p ant and the confederate p eer were left alone to com p lete evaluation sheets. Finally, p artici p ants were administe red the Social P roblem Solving Task. At the conclusion of the ex p eriment, p artici p ants were debriefed as to the true nature of the ex p statuses and a p ost ex p eriment questionnaire was administered. Manipulated Variable An evalu ation sheet was develo p ed to p rovide feedback to p artici p ants regarding their communication skills during a discussion of an issue relevant to college students (e.g., the advantages and disadvantages of living on campus). The evaluation sheet was divided i nto two columns to p resent the feedback for both the participant and confederate peer on one sheet. The rating sheet provided scores for each of fiv e key characteristics of communication skills (e.g., clarity of o p inions and arguments, understandability, interesting ideas) on a five p oint Likert ty p e scale with 1 re p resenting very p oor skills and 5 re p resenting excellent skills. Additionally, a summary section of the evaluation allowed the evaluator to check any of a number of statements as they a pp lied to the p artici p ant. Some statements were p involves p ublic s p Positive feedback to the participant wa s manipulated by selecting high scores on each communication skill criterion and endorsing positive
32 comments. Negative feedback to the participant was manipulated by selecting low numbers across the communication skill criteria and endorsing negative state ments. P revious research has established this feedback as p rovoking as p artici p ants who received negative feedback re p orted feeling insulted significantly more often than those p rovided p ositive feedback (Jacquin et al., 2006). Feedback provided to the co nfederate peer was always neutral. Importantly, the feedback sheets were prepared prior to the experiment as the administration of positive or negative feedback was randomly assigned. Measures of Individual Difference Several questionnaires were administ ered at the beginning of the experiment to assess the individual difference factors of gender, age, and ethnicity, as well as socially desirable responding, narcissism and self control. Demogra p hics A demogra p hic sheet was administered to obtain p artici p a nt gender, race/ethnicity, age, and years of education. Narcissism The Narcissistic P ersonality Inventory Juvenile Offender Version (N P I JO; Calhoun, Glaser, Stefurak, & Bradshaw, 2000) is a revision of the original N P I constructed by Raskin and colleag ues (Raskin & Hall, 1979; Raskin & Terry, 1988 ), and is a 40 item forced choice measure of narcissism. The N P I was develo p ed based on the third version of the Diagnositic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American P sychiatric Association, 1980) c riteria for Narcissistic P ersonality Disorder. For the p ur p oses of the p resent study, the measure is used not as a diagnostic tool to categorize individuals as meeting a threshold indicative of the disorder, but rather as a continuum
33 along which individual p o p ulation may p ossess the traits of narcissism to a greater or lesser extent. The original items of the N P I were modified to increase ease of readability in the N P I JO version. For exam p (Calhoun et al., 2000). Thus, the meaning of each statement was left intact while changing the p hrasing of several items to ensure com p rehension, even in juvenile p o p ulations. The JO ver sion was administered to the present sample due to its readability. Each item on the 40 item scale is formatted as forced choice providing both a more narcissistic cho answered in the narcissistic direction p rovides the score on the measure, thus ranging from 0 to 40. Calhoun and colleagues (2000) found the measure to be internally consistent, = .81. Because the majority of past research has used the sum of all items on the NPI to assess narcissism, the same will be reported here to allow comparisons between the present findings and those previously reported. Self Control The Schema Questionnair e Insufficient Self Control scale (SQ IS; Young, 1990,1994) was administered as a measure of im p ulsivity. The SQ is a 205 item self re p ort instrument measuring early malada p tive schemas. For each item, res p ondents are instructed to identify the extent to w hich the statement describes the way they feel on a scale of 1 6 with a score of 1 re p p p Schmidt and colleagues (1995) revealed 13 p rimary schemas within a college student
34 p o p ulation. For the p ur p oses of the p resent study, only an eight item scale measuring Insufficient Self Control (IS) will be analyzed, although several additional scales were administered. The IS scale is com p osed of items ta pp ing a lack of self control. For exam p p eo p p The items of the SQ IS were found to be internally consistent ( = .92) and demonstrated adequate test retest reliability ( r = .66) with a three week interval between administrations (Schmidt et al., 1995). For the p resent study, the items for the Insufficient Self Control scale were summed and then divid ed by 8 to p roduce the average score. Similar p rocedures have been used in p revious p ublications (Crawford & Wright, 2010). Jacquin (1997) re p orted a mean of 2.70 and standard deviation of .79 (cutoff = 3.49) on the SQ IS among a mixed sam p le of college st udents and community members. Measures of Aggression Evaluation of Confederate P artici p ants used the evaluation sheet (described above) to rate the confederate who p reviously p rovided them with either p ositive or negative ( p rovoking) feedback. The p ercenta ge of aggressive statements endorsed was used as a measure of aggression, the de p endent variable. Four negative statements were listed on the evaluation sheet (see Appendix A). Thus, scores on this variable were coded as 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The Soci al P roblem Solving Task (S P ST; Jacquin, in press) consists of a number of hy p othetical situations. For each situation, the res p ondent is instructed to imagine him/herself as the p rotagonist in the story and then write how he/she would most likely handle th e situation. Afterward, the res p ondent may list any alternative methods he/she
35 would consider using to deal with the situation. For the p ur p oses of the p resent study, only two stories from the S P ST were administered to p artici p ants, one describing a p rovok ing situation (another p erson attem p ts to kiss the p other a non p rovoking control (an overcommitted p rotagonist is asked to volunteer more time). The vignettes were p resented with the p rovoking situation first as p artici p ants we re ex p ected to feel less angered by the negative feedback over time. Scoring of the Social P roblem Solving Task was conducted using a manual described in p revious research (Jacquin et al., 2006). Res p onses to each story were categorized as nonconfrontatio nal, seeking hel p from others, assertion, bargaining and com p romise, seeking information, direct action, p assive aggression, verbal aggression, or p hysical aggression. The manual p rovides both detailed definitions of each category of p roblem solving res p on se as well as a series of exam p les from each of the scenarios. Table 1 p resents the categories, their definitions and exam p les of p artici p ant res p onses from the p rovoking vignette that fit each category. Raters were trained p rior to scoring the p artici p ant res p onses. The categories were not considered ordinal, but nominal. Thus, for the p resent study, the categories of p assive aggression, verbal aggression, and p hysical aggression were of greatest im p ortance for the analyses. Below are the measures of aggre ssion used in the p resent study based on p artici p ant res p onses to the p rovoking vignette.
36 Table 1 Categories Used to Score Social Problem Solving Task with Examples from Provoking Vignette Category Definition Examples Nonconfrontational Response invo lves avoiding the person or situation Ignore it; take another drink; cry; leave the situation Seeking Help from Others Attempts to solve the problem by asking for help from another person or persons Seek help from friend; ask host/hostess to make person leave Assertion Tries to solve problem by asserting his/her position, telling a fact, or attempting to get someone else to assert a position were inappropriate and rude Bargaining and Compromise Person attempts to solve p roblem by asking the person presenting the problem to change in exchange for changing something him/herself OR by asking to do less than what is being asked by him/her Challenge kisser to a game of basketball and if I win, kisser must not talk to my fianc again Seeking Information Person deals with problem by gathering more information Question each individual about drunk Direct Action Performs action, physical or not, that is not clearly aggressive and is aimed at solvi ng the problem Break up with fianc; try to hook the person up with someone else Passive Aggression Does something that indirectly shows hostility boyfriend/girlfriend; Act really kindness) Verbal Agg ression Person deals with problem by being verbally aggressive (yelling, insulting, etc.) Scream at them to stop; Tell everyone what a tramp/bad person the kisser is Physical Aggression Person deals with problem by being physically aggressive (shoving, p ushing, hitting, etc.) or forceful (grabbing, making leave, etc.) Pour a drink on kisser/fianc; push/slap/punch kisser
37 Aggressive Re sp onses on S P ST P artici p ants were able to write u p to 13 total res p onses to the vignette with the first res p onse descr ibing what they would most likely do in the situation and the remainder describing alternate methods of handling the situation. The total p ercentage of each p artici p p onses was calculated as well as the p ercentage of p hysically, verbally or p assive aggressive res p onses. Two independent raters scored 170 of the Social Problem Solving Tasks. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the reliability across raters. Inter rater reliability for the scoring of the provok ing vignette was high for the percentage of physically aggressive responses ( r = .96, p < .01) and the percentage of verbally aggressive responses ( r = .89, p < .01), and moderate for the percentage of passive aggressive responses ( r = .70, p < .01). Inter rater reliability for the nonprovoking story was also high for the percentage of physically aggressive responses ( r = .81, p < .01), and the percentage of verbally aggressive responses ( r = .80, p < .01), and moderate for the percentage of passive aggress ive responses ( r = .73, p < .01). Manipulation Check Post Experiment Questionnaire A p ost ex p eriment questionnaire was administered to p rovide a mani p ulation check. P artici p ants were instructed to indicate how insulted they were by the feedback p rovided during the ex p eriment and how believable they found the feedback. Each of these items was rated on a seven point Likert scale.
38 Planned Analyses An analytic plan was developed to guide the testing of hypotheses for the current study. First, a manipulati on check of the provocation condition was conducted through the analysis of the post experiment questionnaire. It was expected that participants who were provoked would self report feeling more insulted than those who were not provoked. Also, participants were expected to self report the provocation to be believable in general and believability was not expected to be related to condition. In other words, if participants who were provoked found the evaluation to be less believable than those who were not pro voked, the results should be interpreted with caution as it is possible that the manipulation was not effective given people who were provided negative feedback simply did not believe it to be real. Next, an assessment of the SPST was planned. A compariso n of responses to the provoking and nonprovoking stories was expected to reveal greater aggression in response to the provoking vignette. Additionally, a comparison of the aggression measures on the SPST and aggression on the peer evaluation was expected t o show overlap in the various measures of aggression. Thus, a series of correlational analyses were planned to demonstrate that all measures (peer evaluation, physical, verbal, and passive aggression on the SPST) were associated as they are all measures of aggression. Univariate analyses of the study measures were planned to assess the distributions of the variables and identify any outliers. Finally, t tests were conducted to identify any existing relationships between study variables and potential confou nds such as ethnicity and age.
39 Once the variables were fully assessed, the hypotheses were tested. Analyses of Covariance were chosen to compare the means of the groups based on feedback condition (provoked vs. not provoked), gender (male vs. female), an d narcissism (high vs. low). The dependent variables were the aggression measures of the percent of aggressive responses endorsed on the peer evaluation, the percent of aggressive responses on the SPST, and the percent of aggressive responses on the SPST b y type of aggression (e.g., physical, verbal, and passive). Simple bivariate correlations were planned to assess the relationships among narcissism, self control, and aggression. Then, to determine the ability of self control to serve as a mediator of th e relationship between narcissism and aggression, stepwise linear regression was selected for the analysis. Stepwise regression allows the researcher to compare model fit as variables are added to the model at each step. Narcissism and provocation were exp ected to be associated significantly with aggression. Once self control was added to the model, narcissism was expected to no longer have a significant effect on aggression if self control acts as a mediator. Additionally, hypothesis 7 suggests that self control may act as a moderator of the relationship between narcissism and aggression. Another model including an interaction variable testing the interaction of narcissism and self control was designed for this purpose It is possible that the effect of n arcissism on aggression varies across levels of self control. It would be expected that those with high narcissism and low self control would be at most risk for reactive aggression.
40 Cha p ter Four Analytic Results First, to determine whether p artici p a nts believed the feedback they received during the ex p eriment, two items of the p ost ex p eriment questionnaire were analyzed. The two items measured the degree of p erceived insult based on the feedback and the believability of the feedback. Manipulation Ch eck Upon com p letion of the p ost ex p eriment questionnaire, p artici p ants rate d how insulted they felt by the feedback they received during the communication task. An inde p endent sam p les t test was conducted com p aring the two f eedback conditions on p erceived level p s differed significantly in variance. As ex p ected, p artici p ants who received negative feedback from the confederate were more insulted ( M = 3.75, SD = 1.94) than p artici p ants who r eceived p ositive feedback ( M = 1.78, SD = 1.37) and this difference in means was statistically significant, t ( 194, 32 ) = 8.622, p < .01 r 2 = 0.277 P artici p ants also rated how believable they found the feedback from the confederate. A total of 10.7% ( n = 23) rated the believability as either a one or two on a scale of 1 = not at all believable and 7 = very believable. The relationshi p between believability of the feedback and the de p endent variables was then investigated. A series of P earson P roduct Moment correlations revealed no statistically significant associations
41 between self re p orted believability of feedback and any of the de p endent variables (evaluation of confederate, first res p onse to p rovoking vignette, or p ercentage of aggressive res p onses to v ignette). In other words, how believable participants found the feedback they received had no effect on the dependent variables of the study. Based on the analyses of the p ost ex p eriment questionnaire, the feedback mani p ulation p rovided an insulting and b elievable p rovocation as intended. It was also necessary to assess the p roblem solving vignette to determine whether participants interpreted the hy p othetical provoking story as expected. As described in the methods (chapter 3), two vignettes from the Soci al P roblem Solving Task were administered to p rovide p artici p ants with both a p rovoking and a non p rovoking situation. As shown in Table 2, re p eated measures t tests revealed that p artici p ants p rovided a greater p ercentage of total aggressive res p onses, p hy sically aggressive res p onses, and verbally aggressive res p onses to the p rovoking vignette when com p ared with res p onses on the non p rovoking control. However, there was no significant difference in the p ercentage of p assive aggressive res p onses when the two vignettes were com p ared. Table 2 Repeated Measures t Tests Comparing Percent of Aggressive Responses on Provoking and Nonprovoking Situational Vignettes (n = 204) Provoking Vignette Nonprovoking Vignette M SD M SD t r 2 P hysical Aggression 17.69 1 7.47 .48 2.94 13.75* .482 Verbal Aggression 8.65 11.60 2.50 6.72 6.64* .178 P assive Aggression 6.22 10.09 7.18 12.55 .92 .004 Total Aggression 32.71 22.84 10.15 15.64 12.88* .45 p < .01
42 Preliminary Analyses Validation of Social P roblem Solving Task Bivariate correlations were computed to determine whether the six measures of aggression in the p resent study were associated (see Table 3). All measures of aggression were assessed in the bivariate correlational analyses: 1) p ercentage of negative c omments endorsed on the p eer evaluation, 2) p ercentage of p hysically aggressive res p onses to the S P ST, 3) p ercentage of verbally aggressive res p onses to the S P ST, 4) p ercentage of p assive aggressive res p onses to the S P ST, and 5) total p ercentage of aggress ive res p onses to the S P ST. As Table 3 shows, negative evaluation of the confederate was significantly associated with p hysical aggression on the S P ST ( r = .138, p < .05) such that a more negative evaluation was associated with a greater p ercentage of p hysi cally aggressive res p onses. Contrary to ex p ectation, negative evaluation of the confederate was not associated with verbal aggression on the S P ST ( r = .037, p = .601).
43 Table 3 Intercorrelations among Study Variables 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. NPI JO .272** .045 .228** .245** .014 .091 .095 .011 2. SQ IS .132 .194** .181** .054 .068 .155* .245** 3. Peer Eval .083 .138* .037 .007 .160* .093 4. SPST Total .757** .529** .330** .147* .140* 5. SPST Physical .064 .098 .330** .096 6. SPST Verbal .059 .085 .112 7. SPST Passive .078 .050 8. Gender (F=1,M=2) .067 9. Age *p < .05 **p < .01 Note. NPI JO = Narcissistic Personality Inventory Juvenile Offender Version; SQ IS = Schema Ques tionnaire, Insufficent Self Control Scale; Peer Eval = evaluation of provoking peer; SPST Total = Total percentage of aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task; SPST Physical = Percentage of physically aggressive responses on Social Problem Solvi ng Task; SPST Verbal = Percentage of verbally aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task; SPST Passive = Percentage of passive aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task. Also contrary to ex p ectation, p hysical and verbal aggression on t he S P ST were not correlated ( r = .064, p = .362). The failure of p assive aggression to correlate with physical ( r = .098, p = .163) or verbal ( r = .059, p = .400) aggression or even aggression on the feedback sheet provided to the provoking peer ( r = .0 07, p = .915) was not expected. The lack of association between the passive aggression measure and any other measures of aggression aside from total aggression ( r = .330, p < .01), which is an overla pp ing measure, may indicate a problem with the measuremen t of passive
44 aggression. Given passive aggression was not found more often in response to the provoking vignette as compared to the nonprovoking vignette, its lack of correlation with other measures of aggression, and the lower inter rater reliability of t his measure, the construct validity of the variable is questionable. The remaining results report passive aggression, but these should be interpreted with caution. Univariate Analyses Table 4 presents descriptive statistics for the study variables, disp laying the range, measures of central tendency, and differences between the genders. The median is displayed as several of the variables were skewed. As shown in the table, males ( M = 3.13, SD = .97) scored higher on the measure of self control than female s ( M = 2.86, SD = .91) and this difference was statistically significant, F (1, 212) = 4.331, p < .05, 2 = .02 Importantly, the measure of self control is structured such that higher scores (on insufficient self control) indicate lower levels of self cont rol. Thus, females self reported higher levels of self control than males. This finding is consistent with past research indicating females possess greater self c ontrol than males (Burton, Evans, Cullen, Olivares, & Dunaway, 1999; Gibbs, Giever, & Martin 1998; Gibson & Wright, 2001; Jones & Quisenberry, 2004; LaGrange & Silverman, 1999). Additionally, males were significantly more aggressive ( M = 15.22, SD = 27.97) than females ( M = 7.23, SD = 18.66) on the peer evaluation, endorsing a greater percentage of negative comments to the provoking peer, F (1, 212) = 6.224, p < .05, 2 = .03 Most participants, though, male or female, were not particularly aggressive on this measur e as indicated by the median of sign ificantly more aggressive ( M = 37.66, SD = 24.34) than females ( M = 29.21, SD =
45 21.02) on the SPST overall, F (1, 212) = 7.061, p < .05, 2 =.03. Males also provided significantly more physically ( M = 24.95, SD = 20.55) aggressive responses than females ( M = 12.61, SD = 12.76) on the SPST, F (1, 212) = 27.978, p < .05, 2 = .12. While there was not a significant difference in the percentage of verbal or passive aggressive responses provided by males as compared to females, it should be noted that the means fo r females were higher on these scales than those for males, which is the opposite of the finding on physical aggression. Table 4 Descriptive Statistics for Overall Sample and by Gender Possible Range Mean ( SD ); Median Overall Male Female F (1, 212) NPI JO 0 40 17.02 (6.90) 17.83 (7.07) 16.42 (6.73) 2.198 SQ IS 0 8 2.98 (.94) 3.13 (.97) 2.86 (.91) 4.331* Peer Eval 0 100 10.68 (23.43); .0 15.22 (27.97); .0 7.23 (18.66); .0 6.224* SPST Total 0 100 32.8 (22.82); 33 37.66 (24.34); 33 29.21 (21. 02); 27 7.061* SPST Physical 0 100 17.85 (17.57); 17 24.95 (20.55); 20 12.61 (12.76); 10.5 27.978* SPST Verbal 0 100 8.61 (11.59); .0 7.51 (10.72); .0 9.42 (12.17); .0 1.374 SPST Passive 0 100 6.19 (10.08); .0 5.05 (8.25); .0 7.03 (11.20); .0 1. 957 *p < .05 Note. NPI JO = Narcissistic Personality Inventory Juvenile Offender Version; SQ IS = Schema Questionnaire, Insufficent Self Control Scale; Peer Eval = evaluation of provoking peer; SPST Total = Total percentage of aggressive responses on Soci al Problem Solving Task; SPST Physical = Percentage of physically aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task; SPST Verbal = Percentage of verbally aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task; SPST Passive = Percentage of passive aggressive responses on Social Problem Solving Task.
46 Investigation of Potential Confounding Variables Although p artici p ants were randomly assigned to grou p s, it is still im p ortant to determine whether any variables differ between the grou p s that could be affecti ng the de p endent variables other than the manipulation. Additionally, for inde p endent variables in which random assignment could not be made (narcissism and self control) it is necessary to determine, to the extent possible, whether other variables associa ted with both the inde p endent and de p endent variables are res p onsible for relationshi p s among them. Correlation analyses (shown in Table 3) were first run to determine whether ethnicity or age were associated with any of the de p endent variables. Ethnicity was not significantly associated with any of the de p endent variables. However, age was significantly and negatively associated with the total p ercentage of aggressive res p onses to the p rovoking vignette ( r = .140, p < .05). Younger age was associated wit h a greater p ercentage of aggressive res p onses. Next, the relationshi p between age and the inde p endent variables was investigated. Random assignment to feedback grou p should have distributed age equally among the grou p s. If so, then age will not affect t he de p endent variables when com p aring the two grou p s and differences in the grou p means can be attributed to the grou p conditions ( p ositive vs. negative feedback). As ex p ected, an inde p endent sam p les t test revealed no significant differences in age when c om p aring the two feedback grou p s. Thus, random assignment was successful in eliminating the effect of age from the possible influences on the dependent variables when comparing feedback groups.
47 Similarly, inde p endent sam p les t tests revealed no significan t differences in age when males and females were com p ared, or when high and low narcissists were com p ared (based on a quartile s p lit). The only inde p endent variable found to be significantly associated with age was self control, which negatively correlat ed with age ( r = .245, p < .05) indicating lower age was related to higher self control. Again, due to the structure of the measure of self control, higher scores on the measure actually represent less self control. Thus, lower age was associated with low er self control. To control for this significant association in regression analyses assessing self control, age will be added to the model. Tests of Hypotheses Analytic Plan Bivariate correlations were conducted to examine relationships among the continuo us variables of narcissism, self control, and aggression. Then, to establish the high and low groups, a quartile split was applied to the narcissism variable. The analyses were also run using a median split to attempt to retain more data; however, it was d etermined that the quartile split was optimal for two reasons. First, even with a quartile split of the data, there were at least 21 participants per cell, allowing for enough power to carry out the analyses without concern. Second, a quartile split create s groups that more off of a median split. Thus, results of analyses using the quartile split are reported here. Between subjects Analyses of Covariance (ANCOVAs) and Mult ivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVAs) were conducted to test for significant differences in aggressive response among those high and low in narcissism (quartile split), individuals
48 who were provoked compared to those not provoked, and males compared to f emales. It should be noted that while t tests could be used to determine differences in the groups as well as ANCOVAs, ANCOVAs were preferred here for the ability to enter a covariate of gender, given gender clearly affects aggression levels (as demonstrat ed in the above preliminary analyses). Finally, a series of stepwise linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the ability of self control to either mediate or moderate the narcissism aggression relationship. Test of Hypothesis 1: Provoked Pa rticipants React with Greater Aggression than Those Who Are Not Provoked. Analyses of Covariance (ANCOVAs) were conducted to determine whether the p rovocation (negative feedback on communication task) was effective in p roducing an aggressive res p onse. The ANOVAs were p erformed with the inde p endent variable of feedback ( p ositive or negative). The de p endent variables were p ercentage of aggressive res p onses endorsed on the p eer evaluation and the p ercentage of total aggression on the Social P roblem Solving Ta sk (S P ST). A significant main effect for p rovocation on the p ercentage of aggressive res p onses endorsed on the p eer evaluation was revealed F ( 3, 209) = 21.92, p < .05. As ex p ected, p artici p ants who were p rovided negative feedback on their communication s kills res p onded with more aggression ( M = 17.36, SD = 28.49) than p artici p ants who were p rovided p ositive feedback ( M = 3.81, SD = 13.77). P rovocation accounted for 10% of the variance in reactive aggression on the peer evaluation, 2 = .10. However, contr ary
49 to ex p ectation, p rovocation did not significantly affect total p ercentage of aggressive res p onse on the Social P roblem Solving Task. Test of Hypothesis 2: Individuals High in Narcissism Are More Aggressive than Individuals Low in Narcissism. The eff ects of narcissism and gender on peer evaluation and total SPST A quartile s p lit a pp lied to the narcissism variable p roduced the high and low narcissism grou p s. Two ANCOVAs were conducted entering narcissism and gender as the inde p endent variables and the p ercentage of aggressive comments endorsed on the evaluation sheet and total p ercentage of aggressive res p onses to the S P ST as the de p endent variables. No significant effect was found for gender or narcissism on the p ercentage of aggressive res p onses endo rsed on the feedback sheet. Narcissism did, however, p roduce a significant main effect on the total p ercentage of aggressive res p onses on the S P ST, F ( 3, 98) = 4.24, p < .05, 2 = .04. As ex p ected, highly narcissistic p artici p ants p rovided a greater p ercentage of aggressive res p onses ( M = 40.31, SD = 24.26) to the S P ST than did p artici p ants low in narcissism ( M = 29.39, SD = 24.19). The effects of narcissism and gender on SPST categories A MANOVA was conducted with narcissism and gender as the inde p endent variables and the three aggression measures on the S P ST, p hysical, verbal, and p assive aggression as the de p endent variables. A significant multivariate main effect for gender was revealed, F ( 3, 96) = 6.43, p < .05, indicating that even with a reduced sam p le size due to the quartile s p lit of the narcissism variable, gender remained an im p ortant p redictor of the three ty p es of aggressive res p onse to the S P ST. Again, males p rovid ed more p hysically aggressive
50 res p onses ( M = 28.18, SD = 23.53) than females ( M = 13.28, SD = 13.07). However, females p rovided more verbally aggressive res p onses ( M = 10.30, SD = 13.65) than males ( M = 5.96, SD = 9.57) and more p assive aggressive res p onse s ( M = 7.02, SD = 12.15) than males ( M = 4.49, SD = 7.54). Gender accounted for 17% of the variance in p hysical, verbal, and p assive aggression on the S P ST, 2 = .17. Test of Hypothesis 3: Narcissism Is Expected to Moderate the Relationship between Provocation and Aggression. The effects of narcissism and provocation on peer evaluation An ANCOVA was conducted with narcissism and provocation entered as indepe ndent variables and the percentage of aggressive comments endorsed on the peer evaluation as the dependent variable. A significant main effect for provocation was found such that those who were provoked ( M = 16.67, SD = 29.44) endorsed more aggressive resp onses on the feedback sheet than those who were not provoked ( M = 2.23, SD = 10.95), F (3, 103) = 11.728, p < .01, 2 = .10. However, high and low narcissism groups did not differ significantly in the percentage of negative comments endorsed on the peer evaluation, F (3, 103) = .492, p = .485, nor was a significant interaction between the variables of narcissism and fee dback revealed, F (3, 103) = .005, p = .942. The effects of narcissism and provocation on the total SPST An ANCOVA was conducted with narcissism and provocation as independent variables and the total percentage of aggressive responses on the SPST as the de pendent variable. A main effect for narcissism was found such that the high narcissism group provided more aggressive responses on the SPST ( M = 40.32, SD = 24.26) than the low narcissism group ( M = 29.39, SD = 24.19) and this difference was statistically significant, F (3, 98) = 5.142, p <
51 .05, 2 = .05. However, the two provocation conditions did not significantly differ in the total percentage of aggressive responses they provided to the SPST, F (3, 98) = .202, p = .654. No significant interaction between narcissism and provocation was found, F (3, 98) = .155, p = .694. The effects of narcissism and provocation on SPST categories A MANOVA was conducted with narcissism and provocation entered as independent variables and the percentage of physical, verbal, a nd passive aggression as dependent variables. The effect of narcissism on the three types of aggression approached significance, F (3, 96) = 2.499, p = .064, 2 = .07. No significant main effect was found for provocation. The expected interaction of narcissism and provocation was not significant, F (3, 96) = .209, p = .89. Contrary to ex p ectation, Analysis of Variance revealed no significant interaction between p rovocation and narcissism on any of ty p e of aggression measured by the de p endent variables. Test of Hypothesis 4: Narcissism Is Negatively Associated with Self Control. A Pearson Product Moment correlation was conducted on the two continuous variables of narcissism and insufficient self control (see Table 3). The correlation was significant in the positive direction ( r = .272, p < .01). Because the measure of self control is structured such that a higher number is associated with less self control, the as sociation indicates that greater narcissism is associated with lower self control. Test of Hypothesis 5: Self Control Is Negatively Associated with Aggression. As shown in Table 3, a series of bivariate Pearson Product Moment correlations revealed self control was significantly associated with total aggression on the SPST ( r = .194, p < .01), and physical aggression on the SPST ( r = .181, p < .01) Again, the
52 measure of self control is structured such that higher scores indicate lower self control. Thus, a lack of self control was as sociated with total aggression and physical aggression. Surprisingly, self control was not significantly associated with verbal aggression on the SPST ( r = .054, p = .440), nor was self control associated with aggressive respo nse to the provoking peer on the evaluation sheet ( r = .132, p = .055). Perhaps less surprisingly, given the questionable construct validity of the passive aggression measure, self control was not significantly associated with passive aggression on the SPS T ( r = .068, p = .335). Thus, overall, self control appears to be associated only with specific types of aggression, particularly physical aggression. Test of Hypothesis 6: The Significant Relationship between Narcissism and Aggression Is Rendered Nonsign ificant with the Inclusion of Low Self Control. Consistent with the final hypothesis, a test of self control as a mediator of the narcissism aggression link was conducted. Given the continuous nature of the narcissism and self control variables, stepwise l inear regression analyses were p erformed to assess the effects of gender, narcissism and self control on aggressive res p onse. Because linear regression assumes a normal distribution of the dependent variable, each de p endent variable was assessed for normal ity of distribution. Dependent variable univariate statistics. Examination of the distribution of the de p endent variables revealed that the distribution of the p ercent of aggressive comments endorsed on the evaluation was p ositively skewed (2.25; SE = .17) and le p tokurtic (4.21; SE = .33). Endorsement of aggressive comments was not ty p ical as 78.9% of p artici p ants endorsed none of the aggressive comments. Only 1.9% of p artici p ants endorsed all negative comments.
53 De p endent variables based on the S P ST were s imilarly skewed and often le p tokurtic indicating many p artici p ants p rovided few aggressive res p onses. The total p ercentage of aggressive res p onses on the S P ST was p ositively skewed (.563; SE = .17). A total of 83.4% of p artici p ants p rovided 50% or less agg ressive res p onses. Additionally, the p ercentage of p hysically aggressive res p onses was both p ositively skewed (1.71; SE = .17) and le p tokurtic (4.55; SE = .34). Most p artici p ants p rovided a small p ro p ortion of p hysically aggressive res p onses. For exam p le, 78.5% of the sam p le p rovided 25% or less p hysically aggressive res p onses. The p ercentage of verbally aggressive and p assive aggressive res p onses were each p ositively skewed (1.43; SE = .17 and 2.16; SE = .17 res p ectively) and le p tokurtic (2.51; SE = .34 an d 6.83; SE = .34 res p ectively). After assessing the dependent variables and plotting the residuals, it was decided that the two measures of total percentage of aggressive responses to the SPST and percentage of physical aggression on the SPST were closes t to approximating the normal curve. Additionally, the variables of total aggression and physical aggression on the SPST were the two dependent measures that were significantly associated with self control in the bivariate analyses. Given the regression an alyses were to be performed to assess the role of self control in the link between narcissism and aggression, it was decided that total and physical aggression on the SPST would be entered as dependent variables. The raw scores for narcissism, self contr ol, and age were converted to z scores prior to performing the regression analyses. This p rocedure creates standardized variables for the analysis, which reduces the likelihood of multicollinearity between variables used to create interaction terms and the interaction terms themselves (Aiken & West, 1991).
54 Additionally, feedback condition was recoded to 1 = negative feedback, 1 = p ositive feedback; and gender as 1 = female, 1 = male. Interaction terms were then created. Note that the unstandardized betas were inter p reted rather than the standardized betas given the centering p rocedure (Aiken & West, 1991). Narcissism, self control and total aggression Table 5 presents the results of the stepwise linear regression models conducted to test the predictive a bilities of narcissism and self control in the explanation of overall aggression on the situational vignette while controlling for the effects of gender and age. The first block, constructed to determine the ability of narcissism and provocation to explain aggression while controlling for gender and age, was significant, ( F = 5.122, p < .01). Both gender ( b = 3.409) and narcissism ( b = 4.931) were significant predictors in the model. Male gender was associated with aggression. Additionally, higher levels o f narcissism were associated with aggressive response. Self control as a mediator of narcissism and total aggression The second block of the regression analysis was conducted by adding the effect of self control. It was hypothesized that self control me diated the association between narcissism and aggression. Therefore, the addition of self control to the model should render the effect of narcissism nonsignificant. While the inclusion of self control to the model did reduce the effect of narcissism on ag gression, (from b = 4.931 to b = 4.346), the hypothesis was not supported by the data as the effect of narcissism remained significant and the effect of self control was not significant when explaining total aggression on the SPST. In this model, gender re mained a significant predictor of aggression ( b = 3.181). Overall, the model including provocation, narcissism, self control, gender and age was significant, ( F
55 = 4.469, p < .01) and explained 8% of the variance in aggression. However, when comparing the first and second blocks, the change in R 2 was not meaningful, indicating that the addition of the variable of self control adds little to the predictive value of the existing model. Test of Hypothesis 7: Self Control Moderates the Relationship between Nar cissism and Aggression. Self Control as a moderator of narcissism and total aggression. The third block tested the interaction of narcissism and self control on aggression. Because self control failed to mediate the link between narcissism and aggression, it was possible that it could serve as a moderator instead such that people with narcissism and low self control would be most likely to aggress. However, no significant interaction was found. The final model was significant ( F = 4.231, p < .01) and expla ined 9% of the variance in aggressive response to the situational vignette.
56 Table 5 Regression Models Examining the Effects of Provocation, Narcissism and Self Control on the Total Percentage of Aggressive Responses to the SPST Initial Model Ma in Effects Model Interaction Model b S.E. b S.E. b S.E. Constant 33.335 1.552 33.305 1.549 32.656 1.590 Gender 3.409* 1.567 3.181* 1.573 3.030 1.569 Age 3.030 1.610 2.484 1.658 2.479 1.650 Feedback .353 1.534 .267 1.532 .289 1.525 NPI 4.931 ** 1.598 4.346** 1.654 4.239* 1.648 IS 2.235 1.677 1.806 1.689 NPI x IS 2.420 1.437 F value 5.122** 4.469** 4.231** Adjusted R 2 .08 .08 .09 2 .008 .013 *p < .05 **p < .01 Narcissism, self control and physical aggression Linear regression models were constructed to assess the ability of narcissism and self control to ex p lain p hysical aggression while controlling for gender and age (See T able 6). The first block, examining the ability of narcissism to account for p hysical aggression while controlling for age and gender, was significant ( F = 13.505, p < .01), and the combined effects of age, gender, and narcissism accounted for 15% of the v ariance in p hysical aggression. Both narcissism and gender were statistically significant p redictors in the model. Higher narcissism was associated with greater levels of physical aggression ( b = 3.729) Males were more likely to p rovide a p hysically aggres sive res p onse to the vignette ( b = 5.635).
57 Table 6 Regression Models Examining the Effects of Provocation, Narcissism and Self Control on the Percentage of Physically Aggressive Responses to the SPST Initial Model Main Effects Model Interaction Model b S.E. b S.E. b S.E. Constant 18.746 1.145 18.729 1.145 17.916 1.159 Gender 5.631** 1.156 5.506** 1.163 5.316** 1.144 Age 1.307 1.187 1.008 1.225 1.003 1.203 Feedback .169 1.131 .122 1.132 .150 1.112 NPI 3.731** 1.179 3.410** 1.223 3.276** 1 .201 IS 1.224 1.240 .687 1.232 NPI x IS 3.032** 1.048 F value 10.085** 8.262** 8.535** Adjusted R 2 .15 .15 .18 2 .004 .034 *p < .05 **p < .01 Self control as a mediator of narcissism and physical aggression In the second block, self contro l was added to the model. The second model assessed the ability of provocation, narcissism, and self control to predict p hysical aggression while controlling for age and gender. The model was significant ( F = 8.262, p < .01), and the combined effects of pr ovocation, narcissism, self control, age and gender accounted for 15% of the variance in p hysical aggression. Gender remained a significant p redictor ( b = 5.506) as did narcissism ( b = 3.410). Higher levels of narcissism were associated with greater p hysi cal aggression in res p onses to the S P ST. Contrary to ex p ectation, the p resence of
58 self control in the model did not reduce the influence of narcissism to a nonsignificant level. Self control, rather than narcissism was nonsignificant. Self control as a mo derator of narcissism and physical aggression Although self control was not found to mediate the relationshi p between narcissism and aggression, the third block of the analysis was constructed to examine whether self control served as a moderator of the n arcissism aggression relationshi p Provocation, narcissism, self control and the interaction of narcissism and self control were assessed as p redictors for p hysical aggression while controlling for gender and age. The model was significant ( F = 8.535, p < .01), and the inde p endent variables accounted for 18% of the variance in p hysical aggression. Gender remained a significant p redictor ( b = 5.316), as did narcissism ( b = 3.276). A significant interaction between narcissism and self control ( b = 3.032) ind icated that, indeed, a moderation effect was found. Figure 2. Effects of narcissism and insufficient self control on physical aggression.
59 Post Hoc Exploratory Analyses Additional analyses were conducted to further assess the influence of self control on aggression. Stepwise linear regression was conducted to determine the ability of self control and narcissism to account for the total percentage of aggressive responses while controlling for gender and age. As shown in Table 7, self control significantl y influenced ( b = 3.405) total aggression until narcissism was added to the model. Once narcissism was added to the model, narcissism significantly influenced total aggression on the SPST ( b = 4.346) while the effect of self control was no longer significa nt. Similar analyses were performed to explore the effect of self control on physical aggression on the SPST. However, self control was not a significant predictor of physical aggression on the SPST, even when narcissism was not in the model. Table 7
60 Regression Models Assessing Self Control as a Predictor of Aggression Models Predicting Total Aggression on SPST Models Predicting Physical Aggression on SPST Block 1 Block 2 Block 1 Block 2 b S.E. b S.E. b S.E. b S.E. Constant 33.273 1.572 3 3.305 1.549 18.705 1.164 18.729 1.145 Gender 3.542* 1.590 3.181* 1.573 5.789** 1.178 5.506** 1.163 Age 2.191 1.678 2.484 1.658 .778 1.243 1.008 1.225 Feedback .181 1.554 .267 1.532 .055 1.151 .122 1.132 IS 3.405* 1.641 2.235 1.677 2.142 1.2 16 1.224 1.240 NPI 4.346** 1.654 3.410** 1.223 F value 3.749** 4.469** 8.107** 8.262** Adjusted R 2 .05 .08 .12 .15 2 .031 .032 *p < .05 **p < .01
61 Cha p ter Five Discussion Empirical evidence indicates narcissism is on the rise in America (T wenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, & Bushman, 2008; Twenge & Campbell, 2009). As traits of grandiosity and self entitlement become more prevalent, it will be increasingly important to fully understand how and why narcissism is linked to aggression. By gaini ng understanding of the relationship between narcissism and aggression, it may be possible to reduce or prevent aggressive response among the most self absorbed in our society. The goal of the present study was to clarify the relationships among narcissism self control and aggression. The findings indicate that those who are narcissistic and lack self control are at greatest risk of aggressive behavior. Further, the effect of narcissism appears to be influenced by the situation, particularly the specific l evel of provocation, in which the narcissist finds himself. Effect of Provocation on Aggression The results of the present study support the previously touted strength of provocation as a predictor of reactive aggression whether individuals possess narcis sistic traits or not (Berkowitz, 1989; Giancola, 2004). Individuals, whether high or low in narcissism, who were provoked by a peer, responded with reactive aggression aimed at the antagonist. Surprisingly though, provocation did not affect aggression in r esponse to the Social Problem Solving Task. An obvious interpretation of this finding is that
62 provoking situation fails to elicit the same level of aggression. Past research has indicated that responses to situational vignettes are more likely to be indicative of actual behavior if the stories described are believable to the respondents (Nagin & Paternoster, 1993). Therefore, one may question the believability of the provoking hypothetical situation of the SPST. The SPST would need to describe a situation that college students find realistic for the responses to mirror actual behavior. Importantly, in a previous study, Jacquin and colleagues (2006) administered the sam e situational vignettes from the SPST following provocation, and found that provocation increased aggressive response to the SPST. This contradictory result was found even though both the samples in the present study and that of Jacquin et al. were drawn f rom the same population. Therefore, the lack of association between provocation and aggressive response to the SPST in the present study is unlikely to be due to an unrealistic nature of the hypothetical vignettes. If individuals in the present study found likely found the same. The contradictory findings of the present investigation and Jacquin and colleagues (2006) earlier study, instead, are likely due to methodolo gical differences in the p artici p ants were not provided an o pp ortunity to retaliate against the antagonist, and were instead administered the SPST directly following provocation. Ba sed on this methodological difference from the present study, two explanations for the current findings are offered: 1) the retaliation against the confederate in the present study provided a cathartic effect
63 which reduced the likelihood of further aggress ion, and/or 2) the latency period between the p reducing their aggressive response to the provoking vignette. An evaluation of each explanation and support for the latter is p rovided below. The catharsis effect, as described by Freud (described in Tedeschi & Felson, 1994), indicates that individuals build up an aggressive drive and are relieved by venting that aggression whether by prosocial (e.g., playing football) or antiso cial (e.g., fighting) means. Once the aggression is released, the pressure to aggress is eliminated until aggression has built up in the individual again. If this is true, then the method of the current experiment presented participants with an opportunity to relieve the pressure toward aggression by retaliating against their peer. Subsequently, the aggressive drive was eliminated and aggression was an unlikely response to the SPST. However, the totality of the empirical body of research on the catharsis effect reduce aggression are actually more likely to engage in further aggression (Bushman, 2002; Bushman, Baumeister, & Stack, 1999; Lewis & Bucher, 1992; Schaeffer & Mattei, 2005). For example, experimental tests of the catharsis effect have found that individuals who vent their anger by hitting a punching bag are subsequently more aggressive toward a peer on a reaction time task than those who are sedentary for severa l minutes (Bushman et al., 1999). decrease aggression. According to Zillman, physiological arousal that is attributed to anger leads to aggressive response. Supportive of this theory, past research has found that
64 even nonaggressive, but physiologically arousing behavior, such as riding a bicycle, increases the likelihood of aggression after provocation (Zillman, Katcher, & Milavsky, 1972). Importantly for the present study, indi viduals who are sedentary after provocation, and therefore lower their physiological arousal, experience a decrease in aggressive response. Therefore, the latency between provocation and the opportunity to aggress in the present study allowed anger and phy siological arousal to dissipate, thereby reducing the likelihood of aggression. Narcissism and Aggression Although a calming down period reduced reactive aggression in the present study, narcissism was associated with aggressive response after the calmin g period. Importantly, while aggression against the peer provoker was unrelated to narcissism narcissism was associated with aggressive response to the Social Problem Solving Task There are, again, two potential explanations for this finding: 1) narcissi sts developed a sense of similarity to the antagonist, which reduced their aggressive response (Konrath, Bushman, of personality on aggression. Each of these explanati ons is evaluated below. First, narcissists could have developed a sense of similarity to the provoker, which reduced their aggressive response to him/her. It is possible that the present study guise inadvertently created this sense of commonality among na rcissists and provokers. Recall that participants were informed that they would be partaking in a study on communication styles. In the first part of the experiment, the participant and a confederate discussed a topic related to college life (e.g., living on campus versus off campus) while being evaluated by the provoker. Later, the peer provoker gave a short
65 speech on college life. It is possible that after hearing the provoker discuss a college related matter, the narcissist believed him/herself to have s omething in common with the source of provocation. In a study by Konrath and colleagues (2006), narcissism was related to aggression under provocation. However, the relationship between narcissism and aggression was eliminated when narcissists were lead to believe that they had something in common (e.g., fingerprint type, birthday) with the provoker. Thus, narcissism in the present study may have had little effect on aggression against the antagonist as participants shared values became apparent during the speeches on college life. Further research will be needed to explore this possibility. Another explanation for the lack of relationship between narcissism and aggressive re sponse toward the provoker the power of the situation, should also be considered. It is notable that the effect of narcissism on aggression was statistically significant only when the effect of provocation was not. The effect of provocation is reportedly one of the strongest predictors of aggressive behavior, more important than individ ual differences such as gender (Bettencourt & Miller, 1996), and physiological differences such as the influence o f alcohol (Giancola et al. 2002; Giancola & Zeichner, 1995). In the present study, the effect of provocation may have been so strong that per sonality factors such as narcissism and self control had little effect on aggression in response to the provoker. Supportive of this theory, the Traits as Situational Sensitivities (TASS) Model offers a fitting explanation of the current findings (Marshal l & Brown, 2006). According to the model, individual traits create sensitivities to situational pulls toward behavior. Thus, it is the interaction of the situation and the person that leads to behavior.
66 Importantly, the effect of the person is most evident under moderate, rather than high or low, levels of the situation. For example, an individual may be sensitive to cold temperatures and have the tendency to feel cold quite easily. This sensitivity to cold would not be evident if she were in a room full of people and the temperature was 35 degrees. Everyone in the room would be cold given the extreme low temperature. Similarly, the individual who is sensitive to cold is not differentiated from others when she is in a room that is 85 degrees. Again, everyone is warm in a room of such a high temperature. It is when the room is at a moderate temperature, perhaps somewhere around 68 to 72 degrees, that the individual who is sensitive to cold will be wrapped in a sweater while others sit comfortably in shorts. Th us, the sensitivity of the individual to the situation is most evident at a moderate level of the situational pull toward behavior. Using this model as the context of the present experiment, the effect of personality (e.g., narcissism) should be most evide nt under moderate, not low or high provocation. This is because under low provocation, the situation has little effect as most people, whether high or low in narcissism, will not aggress. The opposite is found under high provocation in which people high or low in narcissism will aggress. Under moderate provocation, narcissistic individuals will aggress, but those low in narcissism will not aggress. Therefore, it is important to determine what levels of provocation were created through the manipulation in th e current study. As described in the method section, there were two provocation conditions in the present study, provocation and no provocation. Previous research indicates the provocation condition created in the present study was situationally strong. Ma rshall and Brown (2006) conducted a pilot study in which three feedback statements were tested to
67 determine the perceived valence (from 1 = very negative to 7 = very positive) of the comments. Participants each viewed only one statement and were asked to i magine they had written an essay and received the statement as feedback from a peer. The statement moderately negative by participants. Importantly, this moderate level of provocation was not replicated in the present study. In Marshall and Brown of trait aggression on aggressive response to each level of provocation (low, moderate, and high). Under low provocation, trait aggressiveness did not affect aggression. Whether people are low or high in trait aggression, without any situational pull for aggressive response, they are unlikely to aggress. The opposite was found for the high provocation condition. Both participants who were high and low in trait aggressiveness were equally likely to react with aggression to the strong provocation. It was the moderate provocation condition in which the effect of trait aggressiveness on aggressive behavior was evidenced. Participants who possessed high levels of trait aggressiveness were more sensitive to the moderate level of provocation than were participants who possessed low levels of trait aggressiveness. High trait aggressiveness was associated with aggressive
68 response to moderate provocation. Thus, the level of provocation determines the extent to which personality will have an influence on aggression. In the present study, there was no manipulation of moderate provocation. With only a low and a high provocation condition, the effect of narcissism is not likely to be evidenced. This is because und er low provocation, individuals are unlikely to aggress whether or not they possess narcissistic traits. Under high provocation, aggression is likely whether individuals possess narcissistic traits or not. A third condition providing a moderate level of pr ovocation would have likely influenced narcissists toward aggression while those low in narcissism would have been unaffected by the situation. Future research should investigate this theory. Importantly, narcissism in the present study significantly affec ted aggressive response to the situational vignette. This finding can be explained in terms of the situation as well. Because time since the negative feedback manipulation had passed once the SPST was administered, aggression resulted from how provoking pa rticipants viewed the hypothesized story in the situational vignette. No longer feeling angered by the peer antagonist, individual differences in cognitive schemas influenced interpretation of the situational vignette and scripts for conflict resolution. T hus, the first part of the experiment likely tested situational provocation, anger and physiological response as determinants of aggression; while the second part of the experiment tested cognitive decision making processes and traits (schemas) used to cop e with interpersonal problems. Self Control and Aggression The Traits as Situational Sensitivities Model may also explain the relationship between self control and aggression revealed in the present study. Self control like
69 narcissism, was not associated with aggression on the peer evaluation, which is contrary to previous research that has shown low self control and aggression to be correlated (Ar cher & Southall, 2009; DeWall, Baumeister, Stillman, & Gailliot, 2007; Sellers, 1999; Unnever & Cornell, 2003) The finding may be due to the power of provocation as a predictor of aggression. In the no provocation condition, individuals, whether or not they possessed self control, were not aggressive as the situation failed to provide any impetus toward aggressiv e response. However, in the provocation condition, individuals, regardless of their level of self control, were likely to aggress. A moderate level of provocation should be tested in the future to determine whether self control influences aggression in sit uations where the pull toward aggression is not strong enough to influence those low in self control. Further investigation into the interaction of person and situation is warranted. Again, similar to narcissism, a lack of self control was associated with aggressive response to the SPST. Notably, insufficient self control was related to the total perc entage of aggressive responses and with physical aggression However, insufficient self control was not related to verbal or passive aggression in response to the situational vignette. Gender differences in self control and aggression may serve as an explanation for these findings. Gender Differences in Self Control, Aggression, and Narcissism Consistent with past research, males in the present study were foun d to possess lower self control than females ( Burton et al., 1999; Gibbs et al., 1998; Gibson & Wright, 2001; Jones & Quisenberry, 2004; LaGrange & Silverman, 1999 ). Additionally, the types of aggression that self control associated with on the SPST (total aggression, physical
70 aggression ), were the same types that males were more likely than females to demonstrate. On the other hand, self control was not significantly associated with verbal or passive aggression on the SPST, the types of aggression that fem ales were equally likely to demonstrate. Thus, the variables in the present study may be more important to the understanding of male aggressive behavior, rather than female aggression. Narcissism, Self Control and Aggression The major goal of the present study was to examine the relationships among narcissism, self control and aggression. While self control, narcissism, and aggression were associated with one another in the present study, self control failed to explain the link between narcissism and aggre ssion. Further exploration of the data revealed that self control had a significant effect on total aggressive response on the situational vignette, and this significant effect was rendered nonsignificant with the inclusion of narcissism in the model. Ther e is no theoretical support for the notion that narcissism explains the relationship between self control and aggression. Thus, it is likely that this finding is due to the overlap of the measures used in the present study. The NPI consists of seven subsca les: exhibitionism, exploitativeness, vanity, entitlement, self sufficiency, authority, and superiority. In the present study, the total score on the NPI was chosen as the measure of narcissism as, arguably, exhibitionism without entitlement is not necessa rily narcissism. However, future research may reduce the issue of overlap by assessing the relationship between self control and specific subscales of the NPI. Another method of reducing the issue of overlap in a study of narcissism, self control and aggr ession would be to manipulate self control. As described earlier, Vohs et al. (2005) depleted participants of their self regulatory resources, thus, reducing their
71 self control. All studies of narcissism, self control and aggression will deal with the issu e of overlap in constructs. The best way of addressing the issue is to measure the constructs using multiple types of measures (behavioral, cognitive) and attempt to avoid overlap within the measures themselves. This project, while subject to overlap of me asures, does highlight the need for further research among the relationships of narcissism and self control in the explanation of aggression. In fact, the results of the present study revealed that self control served as a moderator of the relationship be tween narcissism and physical aggression on the SPST. The combination of low self control and narcissism, as two separate constructs, increases the likelihood of physically aggressive response. Highly narcissistic individuals who lack self control are at g reatest risk of responding with physical aggression to interpersonal conflict. Summary In summary, the present study supports theory implicating both the person and the situation as antecedents to aggressive behavior (Marshall & Brown, 2006). Further, sup port for affective, physiological, and cognitive mechanisms through which the person and situation influence aggression is found (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). The fact that gests affective/physiological mechanisms are important in aggression. Additionally, cognitive schemas significantly affect ed aggressive response. Figure 3 presents a model of the process through which individual difference and situational variables affecte d aggression in the present experiment.
72 Figure 3 Model of the process through which the situation and the person affected aggressive behavior in the present study. Limitations There are several limitations to the present study that mu st be mentioned. First, the study may be criticized based on the sam p le of college students. The ability of the findings to generalize to other age grou p s is unknown. However, the main goal of the study was not to generalize the findings to a p articular p o p ulation in the real world, but to generalize the relationshi p s among the theoretical constructs to the real world (Anderson & Bushman, 1997). P revious research has found several variables associated with aggression in the laboratory show even stronger re lationshi p s with aggression in field studies. For exam p le, self re p orted trait aggression and Ty p e A p ersonality are associated with aggression in both laboratory and field studies. The correlation between the traits and aggression is Individual Difference Factors: Gender Narcissism Insufficient Self Control Situational Antecedents: Provocation Process Variables: Affect Physiological Arousal Cognitive Schemas Aggression: Verbal Physical
73 stronger in field stu dies than in laboratory ex p eriments (Anderson & Bushman, 1997). The experimental method was chosen as the optimal method for addressing the questions in the present study due to the ability to manipulate provocation while randomly assigning participants to groups. It is expected that the same relationships would be found in the field, and their associations would be strengthened. One challenge for all aggression researchers, especially those using experimental methods, is that aggression is not a particular ly common behavior. Additionally, the present study was conducted with a sample of young adults from the normal population rather than youth prone to aggressive/violent behavior, further reducing the observations of aggressive response. It is possible that the relationships found in the present study were attenuated due to the sample used. Had youth with aggression problems been assessed in the study, the significant relationships should be strengthened. Another limitation to the study is the lack of explan ation offered for female aggression. The differences and similarities in the quality of aggression exhibited by the two genders in the present study are mostly consistent with past research. Previous research, similar to the present study, has found that m ales are more physically aggressive than females (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995). The equality of male and female verbal aggression found here is also consistent with previous research (Anderson & Bushman, 1997; Bettencourt & Miller, 1996; Jacquin et al., 2006). It was expected that females would be more likely than males to use passive aggressive strategies to resolve conflict. However, there was no significant difference in the genders. This may be due to a lack of construct validity of the measure of passive a ggression.
74 The construct validity of the measure of passive aggression is questioned by the equality in the amount of passive aggressive responses to the provoking versus the nonprovoking situational vignette. The nonprovoking vignette described a situat ion in which the protagonist is approached and asked to commit to volunteer work. There would be no reason to use aggressive, even passive aggressive solutions to this situation. Thus, it is possible that passive aggression was simply difficult to code. Th e interreliability of the codings suggest that it was more difficult to reliably identify passive aggressive ( r = .70 to .73) responses than physically ( r = .81 to .96) or verbally ( r = .80 to .89) aggressive responses. Difficulty coding could be due to an inability to recognize covert (indirect) ( Bjorkqvist et al., 1992 ); unfortunately, it may also be less obvious to researchers categorizing the behavior, at least as a wr itten response to a vignette. A final limitation to the present study is the overlap in the constructs of narcissism, insufficient self control, and aggression. To the extent that the impulsive nature of the narcissist is represented by insufficient sel f control and results in an impulsive behavior of reactive aggression, these are all the same concept measured using different instruments. Notably, though, the association between narcissism and insufficient self control ( r = .27), while significant, was not a perfect correlation. Therefore, there must be some differences in the two constructs. To further limit the potential for tautology in the study of narcissism and self control on aggression, future research should assess specific subscales of the NPI (e.g., entitlement) that are less conceptually overlapped with aggression and self control.
75 It is possible that alternative mechanisms could explain the relationship between narcissism and aggression, and perhaps better explain the findings of the presen t study. For example, the situational manipulation of provocation was measured here, while lab were not assessed. Such life stressors could influence aggressive response, yet were omitted variables from the present study. Future research will be tasked with identifying the factors that are most important in determining aggression why, and in what situations, narcissists aggress. Future Research Another suggestio n for future research examining narcissism and reactive aggression is to further vary the level of provocation administered. A moderate level of provocation would be expected to result in the greatest influence of narcissism and insufficient self control. This research would allow us to better predict situations in which narcissism would be most likely to result in aggressive response. At the same time, future research should attempt to inform our abilities to reduce aggressive response among narcissists. W hile several studies have identified a link between narcissism and aggression, few have investigated means of reducing aggression among provoked narcissists (see Konrath et al. 2006 for an exception). For example, are there situations in which social infl uence affects narcissistic aggression, or are narcissists, as individuals who are not concerned with appearing to behave in a socially desirable manner, impervious to social pressure against reactive aggression?
76 Implications The findings of the present s tudy have implications for the treatment of aggression through anger management and cognitive restructuring. For example, provocation through negative evaluation influenced retaliation to the provoker, but was not carried over to influence response to the situational vignettes. This suggests that taking a brief moment to cool down after provocation may significantly reduce aggressive response. Thus, the present research is supportive of commonly used anger management techniques to increase relaxation and re duce impulsivity of responses (e.g., counting to ten). Indeed, previous research has found anger management techniques effective in the reduction of aggressive behavior among youth (Lochman, Nelson, & Sims, 1981), adult psychiatric patients (Haddock, et al ., 2009) and forensic patients with mental deficiency (Taylor, Novaco, Gilmer, Robertson, & Thorne, 2005). Schools and places of business are wise to consider the adoption of anger management workshops to prevent verbal and physical aggression. Not only wa s affect implicated in the process of aggression, maladaptive cognitive schemas were also responsible for aggressive retaliation. Schema thera p y, develo p ed by Young, Klosko, & Weishaar (2003), is an a pp roach that combines several thera p eutic p aradigms (cog nitive, behavioral, and object relations) to address malada p tive schemata. During this therapy, cognitive mechanisms of interpretation and response to situations are identified and altered, as necessary. By addressing cognitive schemas such as insufficient self control and entitlement, aggression may be reduced among those at most risk for poor decision making in response to provocation (Tremblay & Dozios, 2009).
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97 A pp endix A Evaluation Sheet
98 Communication Skills Evaluation Instructions to Rater: Please rate the written or verbal communication skills of the person(s) you have been asked to evaluate. For each characteristic below, circle the number that best fits. Type of communication you are evaluating (circle one): written verbal Number of people you are evaluating (circle one): one two Participant A Clarity of opinions & arguments 1 2 3 4 5 very very unclear clear Logic of arguments 1 2 3 4 5 very very illogical logical Understandability 1 2 3 4 5 very very hard to easy to understand understand Interesting ideas 1 2 3 4 5 very excellent poor Overall communication skills 1 2 3 4 5 very excellent poor SUMMARY (check any that apply): ____ Excellent communicator! ____ Terrible communicator! __ __ Your arguments are really good! ____ Your arguments are thoughtless! ____ Your arguments make sense! ____ You should have a job that involves public speaking! ____ You should never have a job that involves pu blic speaking! Participant B Clarity of opinions & arguments 1 2 3 4 5 very very unclear clear Logic of arguments 1 2 3 4 5 very very illogical logical Understandability 1 2 3 4 5 very very hard to easy to understand understand I nteresting ideas 1 2 3 4 5 very excellent poor Overall communication skills 1 2 3 4 5 very excellent poor SUMMARY (check any that apply): ____ Excellent communicator! ____ Terrible communicator! ____ Your arguments are really good! ____ Your arguments are thoughtless! ____ Your arguments make sense! ____ You should have a job that involves public speaking! ____ You should never have a job that involves public speaking