Three Types of Narcissism in Women from College to Mid-Life


  • This research was supported in part by National Institute of Health Grant RO1 MH4398 to Ravenna Helson, whom I would like to thank for her interest and help.

concerning this article should be addressed to Paul Wink, who is now at the Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1346.


ABSTRACT This article examines personality change in three types of narcissists (hypersensitive, willful, and autonomous), who were members of a longitudinal sample of women. Measures of narcissism were derived from the age-43 California Q-set ratings. Women who had high scores on hypersensitivity at age 43 were characterized by decline in personal resources, as assessed by the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), relative to their early 20s, and by lack of success either in career or as a homemaker. Women who were high scorers on willfulness at age 43 showed little change from college days, but there was evidence they had grown during their 20s. The autonomous women, following conflict in their 20s, experienced personality growth evident by their early 40s. Hypersensitivity and willfulness, but not autonomy, were associated with evidence of troubled childhood relations with parents, particularly the mother. Willfulness was associated with early identification with a willful father. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of the construct of narcissism for the study of adult development and document the close relation between personality and social roles in the life of an individual over time.