Date

2015

Department or Program

Psychology

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Paul M. Wink

Additional Advisor(s)

Sally A. Theran

Additional Advisor

Jonathan M. Cheek

Abstract

Data from a long-term longitudinal study were used to investigate the relationship between grandiose narcissism in adolescence (ages 15-18) and psychological health in late adulthood (age 70s). Participants were born in 1920s in the San Francisco Bay Area and were assessed in adolescence and four times in adulthood (age 30s, 40s, 50s and 70s). Narcissism was assessed with the observer-based California Q-set and psychological health in late adulthood was measured with an index comprising of self-reported ratings of depression, life satisfaction, and mental health. Adolescent narcissism predicted poor psychological health in late adulthood even after accounting for socio-demographic characteristics, psychological health in late adolescence, and narcissism measured in adulthood. The association between adolescent narcissism and psychological health in late adulthood was moderated by the experience of stressful life events in early adulthood, especially those involving personal conflicts and death in the family. Poor psychological health in late adulthood was particularly characteristic of female adolescents who scored high on narcissism, and subsequently experienced personal conflicts in their 20s and early 30s.

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