Sander Thomaes

Sander Thomaes
Utrecht University | UU · Department of Psychology

Professor

About

108
Publications
79,251
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,918
Citations

Publications

Publications (108)
Article
Full-text available
Narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth, and contribute to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism, however, are not well understood. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first prospective longitudinal evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. We compared two perspectives: social le...
Article
Full-text available
In current Western society, children are often lavished with inflated praise (e.g., "You made an incredibly beautiful drawing!"). Inflated praise is often given in an attempt to raise children's self-esteem. An experiment (Study 1) and naturalistic study (Study 2) found that adults are especially inclined to give inflated praise to children with lo...
Article
Full-text available
When people reflect on their important values, they may become more attuned to the needs of others. Two longitudinal field experiments examined whether a subtle value-affirmation manipulation can initiate relatively enduring increases in young adolescents' prosocial feelings (Study 1; Mage = 12.9) and prosocial behaviors (Study 2; Mage = 12.9). Par...
Article
Narcissistic individuals are prone to become aggressive when their egos are threatened. We report a randomized field experiment that tested whether a social-psychological intervention designed to lessen the impact of ego threat reduces narcissistic aggression. A sample of 405 young adolescents (mean age = 13.9 years) were randomly assigned to compl...
Article
Young children are generally overconfident in their abilities and performances, but the reasons that underlie such self-overestimation are unclear. The current cross-cultural experiment aimed to address this issue, testing the possibility that young children’s overconfidence in task performance is, at least in part, motivated. We tested 89 Chinese...
Article
Full-text available
Children with aggressive behavior problems may aggress for different reasons, requiring tailored assessment and treatment. The aim of this study was to test whether it is possible to detect distinct social information processing (SIP) profiles among boys with aggressive behavior problems. We therefore conducted Latent Profile Analyses on boys’ SIP...
Preprint
Climate change skepticism hampers the sustainable change of individuals and societies. Unfortunately, little is known about its developmental origins and early psychological underpinnings. To address these issues, the present study examined the links between basic values and climate change skepticism in adolescents from three culturally, socially,...
Article
Full-text available
Young people can be agents of sustainable change. To this end, environmental education programs aim to promote their environmental knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. We synthesized five decades of research into the effectiveness of environmental education for children and adolescents. We searched PsycINFO, ERIC, and Scopus and identif...
Article
Full-text available
There is increasing consensus on the importance of distinguishing between grandiose and vulnerable subtypes of narcissism. Yet, little is known about these traits and their differential correlates in youth. Recent findings in adults suggest that narcissistic vulnerability, rather than grandiosity, is a critical determinant of internal aggression tr...
Article
Full-text available
Western literature suggests that young children overestimate their performance across a range of tasks. Research in non‐Western cultures, however, is lacking. In 2019, 101 Chinese (52% girls) and 98 Dutch (49% girls) children, ages 4 and 5, were asked to estimate how well they would perform on both a motor and a memory task. Children from both coun...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing body of research showing the crucial role that students’ growth versus fixed ability-mindsets have in their school achievement, enjoyment, and resilience. The overwhelming majority of this research adopts a variable-oriented approach. As a result, little is known about how teachers and students co-regulate each other’s mindsets w...
Article
Full-text available
This study contributes to the literature on the parental correlates of children’s narcissism. It addresses whether parental overvaluation may drive the putative link between parents’ narcissism and children’s narcissism and self-esteem. The cross-sectional design involved a community sample of 519 school-age children (age ranging from 9 to 11 years...
Article
People who pursue approach goals (i.e., desired outcomes to be reached) tend to be more likely to achieve their goals than people who pursue avoidance goals (i.e., undesired outcomes to be prevented). We tested this premise in a brief preventive parenting intervention targeting parental praise to reduce disruptive child behavior. We also tested whe...
Article
Background Children's self-views encompass two independent dimensions: self-esteem and narcissism, which recently have received growing attention from researchers and clinicians. The current study sought to test whether these dimensions might predict the developmental course of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis. Method The samp...
Article
Full-text available
How do children with aggressive behavior problems view themselves? The present research seeks to answer this question by examining the self-views (i.e., self-esteem and narcissism) of boys referred for disruptive behavior problems. In Study 1 (N = 85, Mage= 10.8 years), we examined relations between self-views and self-reported and parent-reported...
Article
Full-text available
Children with negative competence beliefs often achieve below their potential in school. This randomized field experiment tested whether engaging in positive self‐talk may benefit these children’s mathematics performance. Participants (N = 212, Grades 4–6, Mage = 10.6) worked on the first half of a standardized mathematics test, engaged in effort s...
Article
The present study examined potential changes in narcissistic traits of Chinese youth from 2008 to 2017. A cross-temporal meta-analysis involving 29 independent samples (N = 14,795) found a downward temporal trend: Mean scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and Narcissistic Personality Inventory for Chinese are significantly negatively as...
Article
Full-text available
The dual-pathway model posits that narcissism can both benefit and compromise popularity, depending upon whether narcissists’ assertive or adversarial interpersonal tendencies surface in social interaction. A 5-wave longitudinal study followed Dutch adolescents (N = 322, 53% female, Mage = 12.2) who transitioned from primary into secondary school a...
Article
Full-text available
Children with aggression problems tend to interpret other’s intentions as hostile in ambiguous social situations. Among clinically referred children with aggressive behavior problems, this hostile attribution style may be relatively rigid and difficult to change, due to prevalent histories of aversive social experience and/or personal vulnerability...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments tested an intervention approach to reduce young children’s hostile attribution bias and aggression: self-persuasion. Children with high levels of hostile attribution bias recorded a video-message advocating to peers why story characters who caused a negative outcome may have had nonhostile intentions (self-persuasion condition), or...
Chapter
Full-text available
Research on childhood narcissism has gained momentum over the past years. Narcissism emerges and develops from childhood onward. One main focus of research has centered around the question of how childhood socialization experiences contribute to the development of narcissism. Evidence accumulates that by overvaluing their children-seeing and treati...
Article
Background: Several studies have investigated relationships between narcissism, self-esteem and behavioral problems in children. Most of these studies have been conducted in community samples, rather than in clinical referred samples. This field of research is clinically important, because data on community samples suggest that narcissism is a sig...
Article
Full-text available
Two studies investigated whether parent–child discussion of peer provocations reduces young children's hostile attributional bias. Study 1 (N = 109, age 4–7)—an observational study—showed that parent–child discussion of nonhostile attributions (when reading a picture book) predicted reductions in children's hostile attributional bias from pre‐ to p...
Article
We outline a program of research in which we examined state authenticity, the sense of being one’s true self. In particular, we describe its phenomenology (what it feels like to be experience authenticity), its correlates (e.g., emotions, needs), its nomological network (e.g., real-ideal self overlap, public and private self-consciousness), its cul...
Article
Full-text available
Conditional regard refers to regard dependent upon the receiver's fulfillment of certain expectations. Using an experimental design, we examined the effect of conditional negative and positive regard on well-being and eagerness to learn in university freshmen (N = 131). Participants experienced either failure or success followed by conditional vs....
Article
Full-text available
The young field of research on dark personality traits (i.e., socially aversive traits such as psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism) is gaining momentum. This Special Section examines the nature, origins, development, and sequelae of dark traits, underscoring their largely unappreciated relevance to abnormal psychology. The articles in thi...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Aim Shame and pride have important implications in educational contexts for pupils and educators alike. The aim of this study was to investigate whether adolescents’ growth (intelligence) mindset is associated with reduced shame experiences and increased pride experiences, within a secondary school context. We tested perceived academic c...
Article
As they grow up, children construct views of themselves and their place in the world, known as their self-concept. This topic has often been addressed by social psychologists (studying how the self-concept is influenced by social contexts) and developmental psychologists (studying how the self-concept changes over time). Yet, relatively little is k...
Article
Full-text available
This research aimed to examine whether and why children hold favorable self-conceptions (total N = 882 Dutch children, ages 8-12). Surveys (Studies 1-2) showed that children report strongly favorable self-conceptions. For example, when describing themselves on an open-ended measure, children mainly provided positive self-conceptions-about four time...
Article
Western parents often give children overly positive, inflated praise. One perspective holds that inflated praise sets unattainable standards for children, eventually lowering children's self-esteem (self-deflation hypothesis). Another perspective holds that children internalize inflated praise to form narcissistic self-views (self-inflation hypothe...
Chapter
Psychologists claim that narcissists have inflated, exaggerated, or excessive self-esteem. Media reports state that narcissists suffer from self-esteem on steroids. The conclusion seems obvious: Narcissists have too much self-esteem. A growing body of research shows, however, that narcissism and self-esteem are only weakly related. What, then, sepa...
Article
Full-text available
IN PRESS: State authenticity is the sense that one is currently in alignment with one’s true or real self. We discuss state authenticity as seen by independent raters, describe its phenomenology, outline its triggers, consider its well-being and behavioral implications, and sketch out a cross-disciplinary research agenda.
Article
Full-text available
Two studies investigated whether young children's hostile attributional bias (i.e., the tendency to assume that others have hostile intentions) may be explained by a lack of intent attribution skills (i.e., the ability to correctly infer others' intentions). We also investigated whether these intent attribution skills depend on children's false‐bel...
Article
There is a need to identify the “effective ingredients” of evidence-based behavior therapies. We tested the effects of one of the most common ingredients in parenting interventions for preventing disruptive child behavior, referred to as labeled praise (e.g., “well done picking up your toys”), which is typically recommended in preference to unlabel...
Article
Adolescents have a strong desire to “be themselves.” How does experiencing authenticity—the sense of being one’s true self—influence subjective well-being? What allows adolescents to experience authenticity? This research tests a working model of how authenticity is implicated in adolescents’ well-being. Using survey, diary, and experimental method...
Chapter
Full-text available
The young field of research on youth narcissism has begun to bloom. Narcissism is a personality type marked by a sense of grandiosity and a strong need to get attention and admiration from others. Youth narcissism typically emerges at some point in late childhood or adolescence as a derailment of normal self-development and may yield considerable i...
Article
Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by a sense of superiority and a desire for respect and admiration from others. A common belief, both in psychology and in popular culture, is that narcissism represents a form of excessive self-esteem. Psychologists, including ourselves, have labeled narcissism as “an exaggerated form of high self-est...
Article
Full-text available
When children experience habitual peer difficulties, adults often remind them that many people care about them. How do such reminders of support impact children's emotional responses to acute experiences of peer disapproval? Intuitively, support reminders would exert compensatory effects attenuating the emotional impact of acute disapproval. Theory...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this research is to test how adolescent girls’ narcissistic traits—characterized by a need to impress others and avoid ego-threat—influence acute adverse effects of thin-ideal exposure. Participants (11–15 years; total N?=?366; all female) reported their narcissistic traits. Next, in two experiments, they viewed images of either very...
Article
The purpose of this research is to test how adolescent girls' narcissistic traits-characterized by a need to impress others and avoid ego-threat-influence acute adverse effects of thin-ideal exposure. Participants (11-15 years; total N = 366; all female) reported their narcissistic traits. Next, in two experiments, they viewed images of either very...
Article
Full-text available
We thank Kealy et al. (1) for noting that our article on the origins of narcissism (2) “is a notable contribution to the empirical literature” and “has important implications for helping parents foster appropriate and realistic self-views in their children.” However, they raise questions regarding the interpretation of our findings.
Article
A novel approach is needed to promote the efficacy of parenting interventions designed to improve children's mental health. The proposed approach bridges developmental and intervention science to test which intervention elements contribute to parenting intervention program efficacy. The approach encourages the field to move “back to the future” usi...
Article
Full-text available
A few previous studies have shown that narcissistic traits in youth are positively associated with bullying. However, research examining the developmental relationship between narcissism and bullying is lacking. Moreover, it is unclear whether narcissists constitute a homogeneous group and whether the bullying of narcissistic youth results in estab...
Article
Full-text available
Although it is natural for parents to value their children, some parents "overvalue" them, believing that their own children are more special and more entitled than other children are. This research introduces this concept of parental overvaluation. We developed a concise self-report scale to measure individual differences in parental overvaluation...
Article
Background: Unconditional regard refers to the feeling that one is accepted and valued by others without conditions. Psychological theory suggests that experiences of unconditional regard lead children to feel that they are valuable despite setbacks. We hypothesized that reflecting on experiences of unconditional regard would buffer children's neg...
Conference Paper
Calls are rising in intervention research to identify the effective components of interventions (e.g., Piquero et al., 2009). This knowledge should enable the improvement of interventions’ (cost-)effectiveness and the tailoring of interventions to individual families’ needs. Microtrials are a promising approach to stringently test which elements of...
Article
Health care and vocational professionals regularly encounter patients with rheumatic diseases who are embittered after a disability pension examination. People who are embittered typically feel victimised, experience resentment and injustice, resist help, and have difficulty coping. Our objective was to examine the occurrence of embitterment in pat...
Article
The transition from primary to secondary school challenges children's psychological well-being. A cross-transitional longitudinal study (N = 306; mean age = 12.2 years) examined why some children's self-esteem decreases across the transition whereas other children's self-esteem does not. Children's expected social acceptance in secondary school was...
Article
Personality research has mainly relied on self-report measures, more than on behavioral assessments. In the present study, brief behavioral personality tests were developed to measure behavior that is prototypical for the Big Five traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness. A longitudinal study (N = 322; mean age = 12.2 years) examined the predi...
Article
Receiving report card grades is psychologically salient to most students and can elicit a range of affective reactions. A 3-wave longitudinal study examined how grades shape students' (N = 375; M age at Wave 1 = 12.6 years) school engagement through the affective reactions they elicit. Emotional and behavioral engagement were measured at the start...
Article
In the past decades, tremendous advances have been made in our understanding of peer relations. A description is emerging of how peer relations develop. Surprisingly, though, we know less about why peer relations develop as they do. Experimental designs provide opportunities to learn about causal processes in peer relations, yet they have not been...
Article
Full-text available
From the early days of psychology, theorists have observed that parents sometimes transfer their own unfulfilled ambitions onto their child. We propose that parents are especially inclined to do so when they see their child as part of themselves, more so than as a separate individual. When parents see their child as part of themselves, their child'...
Data
Additional information on the validity of the transferred ambitions measure. (DOC)
Article
Full-text available
Not all positive self-views are alike. Developmental researchers increasingly recognize that it is important to distinguish between accurate, well-balanced positive self-views and inflated, narcissistic positive self-views. Narcissism refers to a sense of grandiosity and a strong need to be seen and admired by others. This article reviews current e...
Article
Full-text available
Child-rearing experts have long believed that praise is an effective means to help children with low self-esteem feel better about themselves. But should one praise these children for who they are, or for how they behave? Study 1 (N = 357) showed that adults are inclined to give children with low self-esteem more person praise (i.e., praise for per...
Article
People often displace their anger and aggression against innocent targets, sometimes called scapegoats. Tragic historic events suggest that members of ethnic minority out-groups may be especially likely to be innocent targets. The current experiment examined displaced aggression of Dutch youths against Dutch in-group peers versus Moroccan out-group...
Article
Full-text available
People often displace their aggression against innocent targets. Notwithstanding the merits of previous research on displaced aggression, critical gaps remain. First, it is unclear whether and how situational and dispositional factors interact to influence displaced aggression. Moreover, it is unclear whether engaging in direct aggression increases...
Article
Is prosocial behavior a prerequisite for having good-quality friendships? This study (N = 477, mean age = 12.2 years) examined whether the link between children's prosocial tendencies and their perceived friendship quality was dependent on children's level of popularity in the peer group. Children's prosocial tendencies were assessed both as observ...
Article
Full-text available
For many years, the prevailing view held that aggression and violence stem from low self-esteem. Despite this apparent consensus, neither a compelling theoretical rationale nor a persuasive body of empirical evidence existed to support this view. The current empirical evidence shows that aggressive and violent individuals often have inflated, narci...
Chapter
Basic research has much to offer to the treatment of narcissism. The goal of this chapter is to review basic research on reducing narcissism or its problematic manifestations. It also discusses the potential clinical implications of this work, and sketches priorities for future work. This chapter proves useful for both researchers and practitioners...
Chapter
Self-esteem refers to how much worth or value people place on themselves as a person. Historically, it has been one of the most widely studied traits in adolescent psychology. It has been long assumed that self-esteem would have a strong impact on a great number of vital aspects of adolescents' psychological functioning and well-being. Its actual b...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study in employed people with FM was to test the hypothesis that embitterment is a function of the joint experience of invalidation from the work environment and helplessness regarding one's illness. Sixty-four full-time (36%) or part-time (64%) employed patients with FM (60 females, mean age 45 years) completed the Illness Invalida...
Article
Full-text available
Children witness violence at home, at school, in their neighborhood, and in the media. Children may also experience violence, as a victim, at home, at school, and in their neighborhood. A longitudinal study tested whether children who are exposed to a heavy dose of violence come to regard it as normal behavior and subsequently behave more aggressiv...
Article
Full-text available
People are strongly motivated to feel accepted by others. Yet when faced with acute peer rejection they often aggress against the very peers they desire acceptance from, which may lead to further rejection. The present experiment tests three potential mediators of aggressive responses to acute peer rejection in the critical developmental stage of e...
Article
Full-text available
The term "humiliated fury" refers to the anger people can experience when they are shamed. In Study 1, participants were randomly exposed to a prototypical shameful event or control event, and their self-reported feelings of anger were measured. In Study 2, participants reported each school day, for 2 weeks, the shameful events they experienced. Th...