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The Predictive Utility of Narcissism among Childrenand Adolescents: Evidence for a Distinction betweenAdaptive and Maladaptive Narcissism

Abstract

We examined the predictive utility of narcissism among a community sample of children and adolescents (N=98) longitudinally. Analyses focused on the differential utility between maladaptive and adaptive narcissism for predicting later delinquency. Maladaptive narcissism significantly predicted self-reported delinquency at one-, two-, and three-year follow-ups. This pattern held even when considering other intrapersonal risk factors for conduct problems (i.e., callous-unemotional traits, impulsivity), parenting practices, and when controlling for earlier conduct problems. In addition, adaptive narcissism was predictive of delinquency in the absence of positive parenting practices, with maladaptive narcissism being particularly predictive of delinquency in the presence of negative parenting. The implications for understanding delinquency in terms of the social and motivational characteristics that are the hallmark of maladaptive narcissism are discussed.

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Acknowledgment

This work was supported by grant MH55654 from the National Institute of Mental Health made to the second author.

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Correspondence to Christopher T. Barry.

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Barry, C.T., Frick, P.J., Adler, K.K. et al. The Predictive Utility of Narcissism among Childrenand Adolescents: Evidence for a Distinction betweenAdaptive and Maladaptive Narcissism. J Child Fam Stud 16, 508–521 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-006-9102-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-006-9102-5

Keywords

  • Narcissism
  • Delinquency
  • Child Behavior Problems