ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (3): 244-258.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00244

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


刘宇平1, 李姗珊2, 何赟2, 王豆豆2, 杨波2()   

  1. 1中国政法大学刑事司法学院, 北京 100088
    2中国政法大学社会学院, 北京 100088
  • 收稿日期:2020-06-09 发布日期:2021-01-27 出版日期:2021-03-25
  • 通讯作者: 杨波
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家重点研发计划项目资助(2018YFC0831002)

Eliminating threat or venting rage?The relationship between narcissism and aggression in violent offenders

LIU Yuping1, LI Shanshan2, HE Yun2, WANG Doudou2, YANG Bo2()   

  1. 1School of Criminal Justice, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 100088, China
    2School of Sociology, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 100088, China
  • Received:2020-06-09 Online:2021-01-27 Published:2021-03-25
  • Contact: YANG Bo


通过2个研究探索了自恋与暴力犯攻击行为的关系及机制。研究1通过问卷法(N = 498)发现, 自恋与攻击存在正相关, 特质愤怒在自恋与预谋性和冲动性攻击间的中介作用成立, 心理特权的中介作用只对预谋性攻击成立。研究2对90名暴力犯进行了行为学实验, 结果表明威胁感和负性情绪在自恋与攻击间起中介作用, 挑衅调节了上述中介作用。显性自恋者只在挑衅条件下表现出更强的攻击性, 隐性自恋者则在挑衅和无挑衅条件下均有较强的攻击性。研究厘清了不同亚型下自恋与攻击的关系, 突出了隐性自恋的“黑暗性”, 并为罪犯矫治管理及犯罪预防提供了参考。

关键词: 自恋, 威胁感, 负性情绪, 攻击, 暴力犯


Narcissism is a component of “the dark triad” and it is closely related to maladaptive and even antisocial behaviors. Aggressive behavior is a typical anti-social behavior, and serious aggression constitutes violent crime. Narcissism is often divided into grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Aggression also has many subtypes, such as premeditated and impulsive aggression. Previous studies have shown that narcissists are aggressive, especially when facing provocation. On the one hand, narcissists feel threatened when they are challenged. To maintain their ego and eliminate threat, narcissists may show aggressive behavior, which is explained by the theory of threatened egotism. On the other hand, when challenged, narcissists also show strong negative emotions because of their inflated but fragile ego, leading to out-of-control behaviors and even triggering them to attack others, which is the so-called “narcissistic rage.” However, most studies are in the background of Western culture, and the participants are mainly college students. Most judicial field studies use questionnaires, and experimental studies to confirm the relation of narcissism and aggression are lacking. The mechanism how they operate is also unknown. Previous studies failed to make distinctions of the subtypes of narcissism and aggression, especially the subtype of vulnerable narcissism. To overcome the disadvantages of previous studies, this study explored the relationship between narcissism and aggression with a questionnaire in experiment 1 and analyzed the manipulating function of provocation with a competitive response time in experiment 2.

In study 1, we administered the Narcissism Personality Inventory-13, Hypersensitivity Narcissistic Scale, The Trait Anger Scale, Entitlement Scale, and Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scales in 498 violence offenders to establish a structural equation model. Then, the significance of effects was examined using Bootstrap to explore the relationship between narcissism and aggression and its mechanisms. In study 2, we recruited 90 violent offenders for scenario-based experiment. Participants were randomly divided into a provocation group (n = 46) and a no-provocation group (n = 44). Participants in both groups completed the questionnaire for narcissism. Then, they finished the first stage to manipulate provocation. Participants were told to compete with another participant (a fake participant) in racing the speed of reactions. In the provocation group, participants lost the game and received negative feedback from their rivals; in the no-provocation group, participants won the game and received positive feedback from their rivals. Then, they completed the questionnaire for manipulation testing and measured negative affect and perceived threat for the mediating variables. Finally, they finished the second stage in which they could send their rivals’ noises, which can be considered as the aggressive indicator.

Experiment 1 showed that narcissism can predict aggression and that the trait anger and entitlement play multiple mediating roles. Significant effects were found in the mediating paths of grandiose/vulnerable narcissism→trait anger→premeditated aggression, grandiose/vulnerable narcissism→trait anger→impulsive aggression, and grandiose/vulnerable narcissism→entitlement→premeditated aggression. However, the effect of the mediating path grandiose/vulnerable narcissism→entitlement→impulsive aggression was not significant. Compared with grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism was a stronger indicator of premeditated and impulsive aggression. Experiment 2 showed that under provocation, grandiose narcissism and aggression exhibited significant correlation. Meanwhile, perceived threat and negative affect served a mediating function. Grandiose narcissism cannot predict aggression behaviors if not provoked, but the mediating role of perceived threat was still significant. For vulnerable narcissism, the influence on aggression and the mediating role of perceived threat and negative affect were all significant whether provoked or not.

The following conclusions can be obtained from the two experiments: (1) The association between narcissism and aggression was still effective in violent offenders in Chinese culture; (2) “Threatened egotism” and “Narcissistic rage” could explain the relationship between narcissism and aggression. In specific, “threatened egotism” could predict premeditated aggression rather than impulsive aggression, and “narcissistic rage” could predict both subtypes of aggression; and (3) Vulnerable narcissism was non-adaptive, exerting a larger effect size on aggression and a wider applicability compared with grandiose narcissism. Researchers should pay attention to the effects of vulnerable narcissism on maladaptive behaviors, such as aggression, and distinguish the subtypes of narcissism and aggression. Furthermore, the above results could be used in the prevention of crime and the management and correction of criminals by judicial practice departments.

Key words: narcissism, threatened egotism, negative affect, aggressive, violent offender