Extremes of self-esteem and narcissism and the experience and expression of anger and aggression



This study examined the level of self-esteem and narcissism as personality variables involved in the disposition to experience and express anger. Three hundred thirty-eight subjects were sampled across two higher education centres and one student teaching programme in the United Kingdom. It was reasoned that individuals with both high self-esteem and narcissism would report especially high tendencies to experience and express anger and aggression and that those with high self-esteem and low narcissism would report the lowest. These predictions were influenced by theories that emphasise the role of threats to high self-esteem in the production of aggression and violence. Results indicate that groups defined by their extreme scores on self-esteem and narcissism scales produced levels of anger expression in the predicted direction. The importance of considering extreme levels of self-esteem and narcissism (in conjunction with other factors) in an analysis of anger is discussed with reference to currently influential theories in the field. Aggr. Behav. 24:421–438, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.