Self-views and aggression in boys referred for disruptive behavior problems: self-esteem, narcissism, and their interaction.


Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands. [Email]


How do children with aggressive behavior problems view themselves? The present research seeks to answer this question by examining the self-views (i.e., self-esteem and narcissism) of boys referred for disruptive behavior problems. In Study 1 (N = 85, Mage= 10.8 years), we examined relations between self-views and self-reported and parent-reported aggression; in Study 2 (N = 73, Mage= 11.8 years), we examined relations between self-views and teacher-reported aggression. We found narcissism to be related with self-reported aggression, but not with parent- and teacher-rated aggression. Children with narcissistic traits were more aggressive according to themselves, and these links were independent of children's level of self-esteem. Self-esteem was not significantly associated with aggression according to children themselves, their parents, nor their teachers. We encourage scholars to explore the possibility that interventions that target characteristics of narcissistic self-views (e.g., perceived superiority, sensitivity to negative feedback) can effectively reduce aggressive behavior in boys referred for behavior problems.


Aggression,Conduct problems,Narcissism,Psychopathology,Self-esteem,Self-views,