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Parenting Narcissus: What Are the Links Between Parenting and Narcissism?


  • Robert S. Horton, Department of Psychology, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN. The data for Study 2 were collected while the second and third authors were undergraduate students at Wabash College. Geoff Bleau is now a psychological counselor at Supervised Lifestyles, and Brian Drwecki is a social psychology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

  • We would like to thank Dr. Beth Kurtz-Costes for her assistance in developing this project and for her helpful comments regarding earlier versions of the manuscript. We would also like to thank Dr. Jefferson Singer and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

concerning this article may be addressed to the first author at P.O. Box 302, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, 47933 or may be sent via electronic mail to


ABSTRACT Previous theorizing by clinical psychologists suggests that adolescent narcissism may be related to parenting practices (Kernberg, 1975; Kohut, 1977). Two studies investigated the relations between parenting dimensions (i.e., warmth, monitoring, and psychological control) and narcissism both with and without removing from narcissism variance associated with trait self-esteem. Two hundred and twenty-two college students (Study 1) and 212 high school students (Study 2) completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a trait self-esteem scale, and standard measures of the three parenting dimensions. Parental warmth was associated positively and monitoring was associated negatively with both types of narcissism. Psychological control was positively associated with narcissism scores from which trait self-esteem variance had been removed. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed, limitations are addressed, and future research directions are suggested.