The Relationship between Multidimensional Narcissism, Explicit and Implicit Self-Esteem in Eating Disorders


Eating disorders (EDs) are often characterised by a low self-esteem. Further examination of the different facets of self-esteem (explicit and implicit) and its relationship to a key personality trait, narcissism, might deepen our understanding of EDs. The aim of the present study is to examine the relationship between explicit and implicit self-esteem as well as grandiose and vulnerable narcissism in a population with EDs. Explicit and implicit self-esteem as well as pathological narcissism were compared in participants with EDs (n = 69), participants with anxiety disorders (n = 51) and participants with no history of psychiatric disorders (n = 93). All participants completed a battery of questionnaires and participated in a categorization task to measure implicit self-esteem, the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The participants with EDs had the lowest explicit self-esteem (p < 0.001), the highest levels of vulnerable narcissism (p < 0.001) and they presented higher levels of grandiose narcissism compared to participants with no history of psychiatric disorders. However, they were not different than the other groups on implicit self-esteem (p = 0.271). Participants with EDs are characterised by a low convergent self-esteem (low explicit and implicit self-esteem). Our findings also suggest that participants with EDs present narcissistic fragilities that are better explained by explicit self-esteem alone rather than by implicit self-esteem or an interaction of both facets of self-esteem.

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Boucher, K. , Bégin, C. , Gagnon-Girouard, M. and Ratté, C. (2015) The Relationship between Multidimensional Narcissism, Explicit and Implicit Self-Esteem in Eating Disorders. Psychology, 6, 2025-2039. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.615200.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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