Personal fables, narcissism, and adolescent adjustment

Psychology in the Schools (Impact Factor: 0.72). 04/2006; 43(4):481 - 491. DOI: 10.1002/pits.20162


The relationship among three personal fables (omnipotence, invulnerability, personal uniqueness), narcissism, and mental health variables was assessed in a large, cross-sectional sample of adolescents drawn from Grades 6 (n = 94), 8 (n = 223), 10 (n = 142), and 12 (n = 102). Participants responded to the New Personal Fable Scale, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, the Children's Depression Inventory, three indices of suicidal ideation, an inventory of delinquent risk behaviors, the Global Self-Worth scales from the Self-Perception Profiles for Children and for Adolescents, and two subscales from the Self-Image Questionnaire for Young Adolescents. The results showed that omnipotence and narcissism strongly counterindicated internalizing symptomatology, and were robust predictors of positive mental health and adjustment. Invulnerability was strongly associated with risk behaviors. Personal uniqueness was strongly associated with depression and suicidal ideation, a relationship that increased with age. Hence, personal fable ideation is a multidimensional construct with differential implications for adolescent mental health. Adolescent fables of invulnerability and personal uniqueness are risk factors for externalizing and internalizing symptoms, respectively, while “narcissistic omnipotence” is associated with competence. Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Psychol Schs 43: 481–491, 2006.

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    • "As explained earlier, the way uniqueness was defined and studied in the literature was not consistent with the humanistic approach, feeling unique because of who one is (e.g., Rogers 1961), such that personal uniqueness was not conceived of as a personal strength which is likely to be bolstered by significant others in one's life. Instead, past theoretical and empirical work approached uniqueness as reflecting one's distinctiveness from others (Lapsley and Rice 1988; Lynn and Snyder 2002) and reported that this might represent a risk factor for the psychosocial well-being of the individual (Aalsma et al. 2006; Tesser et al. 1998). As a result, the ideas of Maslow (1954) and Rogers (1961) about uniqueness and arguments that one's positive interpersonal relationship experiences promote one's sense of uniqueness were not appropriately tested. "
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    ABSTRACT: Decades of empirical research leave no doubt that friendship experiences are consistent correlates of happiness. Yet, little is known about how friendships are related to happiness. The present study examined personal sense of uniqueness as a mediator of the relationship between same-sex best friendship quality and happiness in three samples each employing a different measure of happiness (n = 2,429). Results provided support to the mediational model in every sample and showed that it was gender invariant. The findings suggest that one reason why the quality of friendships is related to happiness is because friendship experiences promote individuals’ feelings of uniqueness. The implications of the findings for friendship and happiness research are discussed and directions for future research are outlined.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 08/2012; 14(4). DOI:10.1007/s10902-012-9376-9 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "The absence of any systematic age trend for all other manifestations and dimensions of egocentrism is a disturbing result, but similar to other research findings (Goossens, 1984, study 1; Gray & Hudson, 1984; Hudson & Gray, 1986; Jahnke & Blanchard-Fields , 1993; Lapsley et al., 1986, study 1; Peterson, 1982; Richter et al., 1982). This finding and the fact that selfconsciousness increases with age support the view that the imaginary audience at least may fluctuate during adolescence as a function of the individual's attempt to cope with developmental transitions and life events (Aalsma et al., 2006; Bjorklund & Green, 1992; Lapsley & Aalsma, 2006). These fluctuations are not accounted for by Elkind's (1967, 1970, 1978) model. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this research was to test empirically Elkind's (1967, 1970, 1978) Piagetian theoretical formu-lation for the developmental nature of adolescent egocentrism. The contribution of this study is threefold because it includes: 1) Pubertal development (with a distinction between status and timing), which has been systematically ignored by other investigators; 2) a broad age range (11 -18 year-old adolescents); and 3) a variety of manifestations and dimensions of egocentrism. The association of the two main forms of adolescent egocentrism—the imaginary audience and the personal fable—with age, gender, pubertal development, and formal operational thought was investigated. Participants were 314 adolescents who completed the Physical Development Scale (Petersen, Crockett, Richards, & Boxer, 1988), a battery of cognitive tasks (Demetriou, Efklides, & Platsidou, 1993), the Imaginary Audience Scale (Elkind & Bo-wen, 1979), the New Imaginary Audience Scale (Lapsley, Fitzgerald, Rice, & Jackson, 1989), the Per-sonal Fable Scale (Elkind, personal communication, August 10, 1993), and the New Personal Fable Scale (Lapsley et al., 1989). Findings provided partial support for Elkind's hypothesis. Only the imaginary au-dience in the form of self-consciousness was associated with grade. Systematic gender differences emerged for several dimensions of imaginary audience and personal fable. For only a few dimensions of imaginary audience and personal fable the expected associations with pubertal and cognitive development, as well as interesting interaction effects, were found. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for Elkind's theory and for alternative interpretations of imaginary audience and personal fable.
    Psychology 01/2012; 03(06). DOI:10.4236/psych.2012.36065
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    • "Recent approaches toward defining and measuring invulnerability have considered invulnerability multidimensional—including domains of general, danger, and interpersonal invulnerability—and as indicative of the adolescent developmental process of separation–individuation (see Aalsma et al., 2006). Such a conceptualization may shed light on whether or not particular thoughts of invulnerability translate to delinquent/aggressive actions, yet this possibility has not been extensively examined. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the correlations between invulnerability, narcissism, self-esteem, delinquency, and aggression in a sample of at-risk adolescents. Participants were 213, 16–18 year-olds (169 male, 44 female). As expected, narcissism and invulnerability were related to delinquency and aggression. However, maladaptive narcissism predicted unique variance in delinquency and relational aggression. A negative effect for self-esteem emerged for predicting delinquency when controlling for narcissism and perceived invulnerability. The distributions of narcissism and invulnerability indicated that these constructs may not, as a rule, be elevated in such youth. Some preliminary implications for the role of these variables in adolescent problem behaviors are presented.
    Personality and Individual Differences 10/2009; 47(6-47):577-582. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2009.05.022 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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