Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Yung, Rianna H.

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Psychology

Advisor(s)

Claire W. Lyons

Abstract

Terror management theory (TMT) posits that a psychological conflict (“terror”) is created when human beings are reminded of their own mortality (Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991). This experimental study examines whether the impact of mortality salience on self-esteem is moderated by individual differences in narcissism. There are two subtypes of narcissism, namely grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism. Grandiose narcissism is associated with higher self-esteem, whereas vulnerable narcissism is associated with lower self-esteem. Participants (N = 437) completed an online survey that consisted of the Rosenberg Self-esteem Inventory, the Pathological Narcissism Inventory, a mortality salience manipulation or the control task, and two manipulation check measures. Results revealed that there was no significant difference between the mortality salience condition and the control condition in the change in self-esteem (hypothesis 1), and that grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism were highly correlated (hypothesis 2). None of the variables (mortality salience, vulnerable narcissism, grandiose narcissism) are significant predictors for the change in self-esteem (hypothesis 3). Possible explanations for these findings were then discussed.

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