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Gendering Narcissism: Different Roots and Different Routes to Intimate Partner Violence

Green, Ava; Hart, Claire M.; Day, Nicholas; MacLean, Rory; Charles, Kathy


Ava Green

Claire M. Hart

Nicholas Day

Kathy Charles


Research has only recently begun to explore narcissism in women using gender-inclusive assessments that move beyond traditional male-centric frameworks associated with grandiosity. Such work indicates gender differences in the onset and expression of narcissism, and risk factors of partner violence perpetration. The pathways to offending in narcissism may therefore be gendered but have yet to be tested. In this study, we investigated the mediating role of grandiose and vulnerable narcissism in the association between childhood exposure to maltreatment and later partner violence perpetration in adulthood, and the moderating role of gender in these associations. Participants (N = 328) completed scales of grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, perceived parenting styles, and physical/sexual and psychological abuse perpetration. Results indicated gender differences in grandiose (men higher) and vulnerable (women higher) narcissism. Retrospective reports of having mothers who were caring was negatively related to grandiose narcissism for men and vulnerable narcissism for women. Father overprotectiveness was positively related to grandiose narcissism in men. Self-reported vulnerable narcissism was related to greater perpetration of physical/sexual and psychological IPV in women, whereas grandiose narcissism was associated with greater perpetration of psychological IPV in men. For women, but not men, mother care was associated with reduced psychological IPV via lower vulnerable narcissism levels. These findings inform gendered risk markers of narcissism and perpetration of violence for intervention.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2024
Deposit Date May 15, 2024
Print ISSN 0360-0025
Electronic ISSN 1573-2762
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords women narcissism, vulnerable narcissism, grandiose narcissism, gender differences, childhood maltreatment, partner violence perpetration