Exploring the Relations Between Motives and Traits: The Case of Narcissism

  • Robert A. Emmons


Personality psychology has never suffered from a shortage of theoretical constructs. Terms such as motive, trait, value, wish, attitude, goal, belief, schema, and need represent a mere sampling of the conceptual units that have been employed in the pursuit of understanding the human personality. Of these, motives and traits have clearly received the lion’s share of the attention, and most personologists would agree that these two are the primary tools existing in our conceptual armamentarium with which to attack emerging issues in personality. One of the emerging issues confronting the field today is mapping the conceptual and empirical relationships between trait-based and motive-based structures. The purposes of this chapter are to address the issues involved in this mapping, and to provide an example of how it may be possible to address the interrelations between these units of analysis empirically.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akhtar, S. & Thomson, J.A. (1982). Overview: Narcissistic personality disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 12–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Alston, W.P. (1970). Toward a logical geography of personality: Traits and deeper lying personality characteristics. In H.D. Kiefer & M.K. Munitz (Eds.), Mind, science, and history (pp. 70–105 ). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  3. Alston, W.P. (1975). Traits, consistency, and conceptual alternatives for personality theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 5, 17–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. American Psychiatric Association (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-III. Washington, D.C.: Author.Google Scholar
  5. Aronoff, J., & Wilson, J.P. (1985). Personality in the social process. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Atkinson, J.W., Heyns, R.W., & Veroff, J. (1954). The effect of experimental arousal of the affiliative motive on thematic apperception. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 49, 405–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buss, D.M., & Craik, K.H. (1983). The act-frequency approach to personality. Psychological Review, 90, 105–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cantor, N., & Kihlstrom, J.F. (1987). Personality and social intelligence. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Cochran, L. (1984). On the categorization of traits. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 14, 183–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emmons, R.A. (1981). Relationship between narcissism and sensation seeking. Psychological Reports, 48, 247–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emmons, R.A. (1984). Factor analysis and construct validity of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 291–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Emmons, R.A. (1986). Personal strivings: An approach to personality and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1058–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Emmons, R.A. (1987). Narcissism: Theory and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 11–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Emmons, R.A. (1987, August). Current status of the motive concept. In K. Craik & R. Hogan (Chairs), Fifty Years of Personality Psychology. Symposium conducted at the 95th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Emmons, R.A. (1989). The personal striving approach to personality. In L.A. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology. (pp. 87–126 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Emmons, R.A. & King, L.A. (1989). On the personalization of motivation. In T.K. Srull & R.S. Wyer, Jr., Advances in social cognition. Vol. 2: Social intelligence and the cognitive assessment of personality. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Gottschalk, L.A. (1988). Narcissism: Its normal evolution and development and the treatment of its disorders. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 42, 4–27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kernberg, O. (1976). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  19. Maddi, S.R. (1989). Personality theories: A comparative analysis ( 5th ed. ). Chicago, IL: Dorsey Press.Google Scholar
  20. McAdams, D.P. (1980). A thematic coding system for the intimacy motive. Journal of Research in Personality, 14, 413–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McAdams, D.P., & Constantian, C.A. (1983). Intimacy and affiliation motives in daily living: An experience sampling analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 851–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McClelland, D.C. (1951). Personality. New York: Dryden.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McClelland, D.C. (1961). The achieving society. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  24. McClelland, D.C. (1981). Is personality consistent? In A. Rabin, J. Aronoff, and R. Zucker (Eds.), Further explorations in personality (pp. 87–113 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  25. McClelland, D.C. (1985). Human motivation. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.Google Scholar
  26. Miller, A. (1981). Prisoners of childhood. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  27. Murray, H.A. (1938). Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Raskin, R.N., & Hall, C.S. (1981). The Narcissistic Personality Inventory: Alternate form reliability and further evidence of construct validity. Journal of Personality Assessment, 45, 159–162.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Raskin, R. N., & Terry, H. (1988). A principal-components analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and further evidence of its construct validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 890–902.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Read, S.J., & Miller, L.C. (1989). Inter-personalism: Towards a goal-based theory of persons in relationships. In L.A. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology. (pp. 413–472 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Watson, P.J., Grisham, S.O., Trotter, M.V., & Biderman, M.D. (1984). Narcissism and empathy: Validity evidence for the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 301–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Winter, D., & Stewart, A.J. (1978). The power motive. In H. London & J.E. Exner, Jr. (Eds.), Dimensions of personality (pp. 391–448 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Emmons

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations