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J Res Pers. 2009 Aug 1;43(4):570-578.

Preschool Personality Antecedents of Narcissism in Adolescence and Emergent Adulthood: A 20-Year Longitudinal Study.

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  • 1Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


This prospective study examined relations between preschool personality attributes and narcissism during adolescence and emerging adulthood. We created five a priori preschool scales anticipated to foretell future narcissism. Independent assessors evaluated the participants' personality at ages 14, 18, and 23. Based upon these evaluations, we generated observer-based narcissism scales for each of these three ages. All preschool scales predicted subsequent narcissism, except Interpersonal Antagonism at age 23. According to mean scale and item scores analyses, narcissism increased significantly from age 14 to 18, followed by a slight but non-significant decline from age 18 to 23. The discussion focused on a developmental view of narcissism, the need for research on automatic processing and psychological defenses, and links between narcissism and attachment.

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