Situational and Trait Self-Handicapping among Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissists
Keywords:self-handicapping, grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism, self-protection, self-enhancement
AbstractSelf-handicapping is an effective strategy for self-enhancement and self-protection in situations in which one’s self-image is evaluated. Previous studies have shown that grandiose narcissists use self-handicapping for self-enhancement, while research on vulnerable narcissists’ use of self-handicapping is still scarce. In this study, we examined trait, behavioural, and proclaimed self-handicapping among the two forms of narcissism. After questionnaire measures were collected, a total of 105 individuals participated in the experimental study, in which they were led to believe they would be doing a hard or an easy ability test. The results showed that grandiose narcissism was only related to trait self-handicapping in achievement situations, while vulnerable narcissism was related to self-handicapping in interpersonal and achievement situations. Experimental results showed that participants did not seize the opportunity for behavioural or proclaimed self-handicapping. Moreover, the use of these strategies was not related to vulnerable or grandiose narcissism. The results are here discussed in the context of self-image maintenance dynamics of individuals with different levels of vulnerable and grandiose narcissism as well as methodological aspects of the study, and the validity of the concept of self-handicapping.