Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Program

Psychology

Date of Award

8-2013

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Peggy J. Cantrell

Committee Members

William T. Dalton III, Jon B. Ellis, Stacey L. Williams

Abstract

The current study was undertaken to explore the relationship between self-esteem, narcissism, and empathy with intimate partner violence perpetration among men in 2 samples: college students and inmates. The sample was analyzed both as an aggregate and separately. A negative relationship was hypothesized between intimate violence perpetration and both self-esteem and empathy. A positive relationship was expected between intimate violence perpetration and narcissism. A 2-way interaction was examined between self-esteem and narcissism as a test of threatened egotism, defined as high self-esteem coupled with high narcissism, which was not expected in the current study. Empathy was hypothesized to moderate the relationship between intimate violence perpetration and threatened egotism, such that low empathy coupled with high narcissism and high self-esteem was expected to result in increased intimate violence perpetration. Participants were 488 men (249 college students; 239 inmates). Surveys consisted of a demographic questionnaire, CTS2 for participants’ relationships, CTS for their parents’ relationship, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, entitlement and exploitative subscales of the NPI, and the IRI. Independent samples t-tests were used to explore differences in the 2 samples. Hierarchical multiple regression was undertaken in the aggregate sample as well as the college sample and inmate sample separately. For the aggregate sample significant main effects emerged for family violence, self-esteem, narcissism, and cognitive and affective empathy, as well as the 2-way interaction between self-esteem and narcissism. Results were similar for the college sample with the exception that affective empathy was not significant. For the inmate sample main effects emerged for family violence, narcissism, and affective empathy as well as the 2-way interaction between self-esteem and narcissism. The results appear to support the theory of threatened egotism, though further analysis indicates the findings are not so clear. Empathy did not moderate the 2-way interaction between self-esteem and narcissism.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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