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J Pers. 2006 Feb;74(1):119-44.

Discrepancies between implicit and explicit self-esteem: implications for narcissism and self-esteem instability.

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Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi. Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA.


There appear to be two forms of high self-esteem: secure high self-esteem (which is often linked with psychological health) and fragile high self-esteem (which is generally associated with poor psychological adjustment and impaired interpersonal relationships). Discrepant high self-esteem is a form of fragile self-esteem characterized by high explicit self-esteem and low implicit self-esteem. The present study examined whether discrepant high self-esteem was associated with narcissism and self-esteem instability in an undergraduate sample. Using multiple measures of implicit self-esteem, two basic findings emerged from the present study. First, participants with discrepant high self-esteem possessed the highest levels of narcissism. Second, participants with high explicit self-esteem and high implicit self-esteem displayed the most stable self-esteem. Findings are discussed in terms of secure and fragile high self-esteem.

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