Self-esteem, narcissism, and stressful life events: Testing for selection and socialization

Orth, Ulrich; Luciano, Eva C. (2015). Self-esteem, narcissism, and stressful life events: Testing for selection and socialization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(4), pp. 707-721. American Psychological Association 10.1037/pspp0000049

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We examined whether self-esteem and narcissism predict the occurrence of stressful life events (i.e., selection) and whether stressful life events predict change in self-esteem and narcissism (i.e., socialization). The analyses were based on longitudinal data from 2 studies, including samples of 328 young adults (Study 1) and 371 adults (Study 2). The effects of self-esteem and narcissism were mutually controlled for each other and, moreover, controlled for effects of depression. After conducting the study-level analyses, we meta-analytically aggregated the findings. Self-esteem had a selection effect, suggesting that low self-esteem led to the occurrence of stressful life events; however, this effect became nonsignificant when depression was controlled for. Regardless of whether depression was controlled for or not, narcissism had a selection effect, suggesting that high narcissism led to the occurrence of stressful life events. Moreover, stressful life events had a socialization effect on self-esteem, but not on narcissism, suggesting that the occurrence of stressful life events decreased self-esteem. Analyses of trait–state models indicated that narcissism consisted almost exclusively of perfectly stable trait variance, providing a possible explanation for the absence of socialization effects on narcissism. The findings have significant implications because they suggest that a person’s level of narcissism influences whether stressful life events occur, and that self-esteem is shaped by the occurrence of stressful life events. Moreover, we discuss the possibility that depression mediates the selection effect of low self-esteem on stressful life events.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Orth, Ulrich and Luciano, Eva Christina

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0022-3514

Publisher:

American Psychological Association

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ulrich Orth

Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2015 15:13

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2016 09:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1037/pspp0000049

PubMed ID:

26011661

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73255

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73255

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