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Narcissistic Subtypes and Contingent Self-Esteem: Do All Narcissists Base Their Self-Esteem on the Same Domains?


concerning this article should be addressed to Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #5025, Hattiesburg, MS 39406. E-mail may be sent to


ABSTRACT It has been suggested that there are two forms of narcissism: a grandiose subtype and a vulnerable subtype. Although these forms of narcissism share certain similarities, it is believed that these subtypes may differ in the domains upon which their self-esteem is based. To explore this possibility, the present study examined the associations between these narcissistic subtypes and domain-specific contingencies of self-worth. The results show that vulnerable narcissism was positively associated with contingencies of self-worth across a variety of domains. In contrast, the associations between grandiose narcissism and domain-specific contingencies of self-worth were more complex and included both positive and negative relationships. These results provide additional support for the distinction between grandiose and vulnerable narcissism by showing that the domains of contingent self-esteem associated with grandiose narcissism may be more limited in scope than those associated with vulnerable narcissism.