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Narcissism and Adjustment in Preadolescence


concerning this article should be addressed to David G. Perry, Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431. Electronic mail may be sent to


Narcissism—a strong need to be admired for a grandiose self—is a problematic personality trait for children as well as adults. This study of 236 preadolescents (M age = 11.3 years; 129 girls, 107 boys) evaluated 2 intrapersonal (cognitive) pathways by which narcissism might contribute to maladjustment. The first was that narcissism combines with salient self-serving gender stereotypes to encourage aggressive and selfish behavior. The second was that narcissism places children who perceive that they are failing to realize their grandiose self at risk for aggression and depression. Although concurrent-correlational, the data support the pathways, illuminate the content and dynamics of narcissistic children’s minds, and suggest directions for future investigation.