ARTICLE REVIEW 1
Plenty oftheories have been proposed to explain the origin of the narcissisticpersonality disorder. For instance, some studies have highlighted therole of parental overindulgence (Ramsey, Watson, Biderman, &Reeves, 1996). Permissiveness has also been mentioned as a possibleinstigator of narcissistic tendencies. Other potential factorsinclude parental abuse and the use of authoritarian methods. Infact, the latter aspect created narcissistic tendencies associatedwith immature idealization. On the other hand, authoritative parentsmanifested warm love for their children by setting proper boundaries(Ramsey et al., 1996). Nevertheless, such relationships were weaksince they were based on psychoanalytic theory rather thanpsychiatric measures of narcissism. Since permissiveness had a highercorrelation to authoritativeness, it was necessary to use differentmeasures. The researchers also failed to analyze varying combinationsof parenting styles. For example, an individual with two permissiveparents would develop unique tendencies in comparison to one withauthoritative parents.
The authorsfocused on the relationships between parenting styles and narcissism.In this respect, the article sought to address the limitationsassociated with previous studies. The researchers used the O’BrienMultiphasic Narcissism Inventory (OMNI) instead of the NarcissisticPersonality Inventory (NPI) (Ramsey et al., 1996). The former methodwas preferred since it was less ambiguous. Furthermore, OMNI could beused to distinguish between persons who had been diagnosed withnarcissism and those who had not. The authors also used severalinstruments to measure the impact of parenting styles (Ramsey et al.,1996). Additionally, statistical techniques such as regression wereused to evaluate if maternal and paternal aspects could interact toinfluence the occurrence of narcissism.
The researchersused undergraduates in psychology classes as the participants. Inparticular, the volunteers comprised of 219 females and 151 males(Ramsey et al., 1996). 88% of the group was white while AfricanAmericans constituted 8% of the participants. Notably, the average ofthe students was 18.8 years (Ramsey et al., 1996). The researchersensured that all participants lived with both parents. Hence, thestudents could provide insightful information about the parentingstyles. In this respect, the students were issued with questionnairebooklets containing the PAQ for both parents, and the OMNI scale. TheRosenberg Self-Esteem Scale was also included to measure the mentalhealth effects of the study variables. The latter method contained 10items graded on a 4-point scale (Ramsey et al., 1996). On the otherhand, each PAQ contained statements used to measure the students’perceptions concerning each parenting style. The psychometriccredentials and validity of both mechanisms were well-established inprevious studies.
Furthermore, theresearchers used the Combined Parenting Styles Index (CPSI) toevaluate the impact of both parents. In this respect, differentcombinations were used to measure the long-lasting effects ofparental care and concern. In addition, the OMNI comprised of 41questions designed to measure pathological narcissism (Ramsey et al.,1996). The responses on the questionnaire items were evaluated usingscanning equipment loaded into a computer program. Subsequently,internal reliabilities were calculated for each factor. The averageresponses were then analyzed using correlation and regressiontechniques. Eventually, PAQ data was utilized to examine whethernarcissistic patterns were linked to high levels of parentingpatterns (Ramsey et al., 1996). Different OMNI groupings were alsoused to identify trends and make classifications. Consequently, theresearchers used a chi-square test to examine the patterns ofparenting.
The researchers observed similar relationships among the scores onthe PAQ scales. Furthermore, there was strong correlation between thestyles of both parents (Ramsey et al., 1996). The PAQ permissivenessscores also highlighted direction association with authoritativenessin three of the four areas. The measures for both fathers and mothersmanifested inverse correlation between authoritarianism andauthoritativeness. However, the former had minimal relation withpermissiveness on the CPSI. All measures of the latter indexcontributed to higher values of the same PAQ style (Ramsey et al.,1996). In addition, the combined index of authoritarianism hadinverse relationships with the measures of permissiveness.Furthermore, self-esteem correlated directly with authoritativeness.On the other hand, the association with authoritarianism wasinsignificant while that with permissiveness was inverse (Ramsey etal., 1996). Notwithstanding, all instruments had adequate coefficientalphas.
The RosenbergSelf-Esteem Scale and the OMNI had a negative relationship while thelatter related directly with the PAQ maternal and paternal levels ofpermissiveness (Ramsey et al., 1996). However, there was an inverserelationship with the combined measure. Notably, all authoritarianscales manifested higher tendencies towards narcissism. There werealso no significant linkages between measures of authoritativenessand the OMNI (Ramsey et al., 1996). Gender differences had littleimpact on the correlations between self-esteem and other measures ofnarcissism. The researchers were guided by the non-significantrelationship between authoritativeness and the OMNI (Ramsey et al.,1996). Hence, they concentrated their efforts on multiple regressionsbetween two insufficient parenting styles.
However, betterresults would have been realized if they considered severalcombinations. For example, the researchers could have used twoadequate parenting styles. In the high-scoring OMNI group, 8participants evaluated their parents as authoritative while 68considered neither parent as authoritative. Additionally, 24 studentsperceived only one parent as authoritative. For the low-scoring OMNIgroup, 24 participants deemed both parents as authoritative while 59considered neither parent as authoritative (Ramsey et al., 1996).However, 24 students perceived either parent as authoritative.Consequently, the researchers established some patterns with regardsto both groups. For example, the high-scoring classification was morelikely to perceive both parents as permissive and authoritarian(Ramsey et al., 1996). On the other hand, the low-scoring OMNI groupwas more likely to consider both parents as authoritative. The latterclassification also had a lower likelihood of viewing one parent aspermissive with the other being authoritarian.
The authorsproved the direct correlation between narcissistic tendencies andperceptions of parents as either permissive or authoritarian. Despitethe use of an advanced index of pathological narcissism, suchrelationships had minor significance. Nonetheless, multipleregressions showed that parental authoritarianism had a significantimpact on the predictability of OMNI scores (Ramsey et al., 1996). Inaddition, authoritativeness exerted relatively less influence owingto the fact that narcissistic participants seldom considered theirparents as harsh. The researchers found that participants in thehigh-scoring OMNI group had a higher likelihood of viewing bothparents as permissive and/ or authoritarian.
Granted, thestudy had several limitations that undermine the authority ofidentified results. For example, the participants included 151 malesand 219 females (Ramsey et al., 1996). Inevitably, having a largernumber of participants would have yielded different outcomes. Inaddition, the researchers focused on college students under the ageof 21. Therefore, it is likely that different responses would havebeen realized if older participants were used to fill thequestionnaires.
Furthermore, theresearchers acknowledged that some students may have providedinaccurate recollections. In addition, some forms of self-servingbias can hamper the memories of narcissistic individuals (Ramsey etal., 1996). Hence, some responses may have been exaggerated dependingon the person’s attitude towards his parents. The researchers werealso unable to find a more discriminative measure of permissiveness(Ramsey et al., 1996). Contrary to expectations, the CPSI predictedlower levels of authoritativeness.
The combinedindex was also less instrumental than PAQ in establishingcorrelations with the OMNI. Besides, authoritarianism andpermissiveness had opposing implications. The study was also limitedin that the CPSI failed to predict lower levels of authoritarianism(Ramsey et al., 1996). The associations among authoritative parentingstyles were more robust than direct relationships of the PAQpermissiveness scale with the combined index (Ramsey et al., 1996).Therefore, the authors experienced plenty of challenges during themeasurement of parental permissiveness(Ramsey et al., 1996). Suchlimitations show that the results of the study must be interpretedwith caution.
Admittedly, theresearchers failed to examine the three factors associated with theOMNI. Therefore, the study could be improved by considering theindividual impact of each component. The authors also used theRosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to assess the effects of all variables onmental health (Ramsey et al., 1996). However, the method consideredonly 10 items on a 4-point scale. Hence, further improvements of thestudy would be realized by increasing the number of mental healthfactors. Besides, using a 5-point scale would allow the students toprovide diverse responses. Consequently, the researchers will enhancethe quality of research conducted.
The authorsensured that all participants were less than 21 years old.Additionally, all students lived with both parents (Ramsey et al.,1996). However, it may be proper to raise the limit to 24 years.Consequently, more students will enroll as participants. Furthermore,the researchers should include individuals with separated or divorcedparents. In many instances, such people have had firsthand experienceof tensions within the family arrangement. Therefore, they wouldprovide reliable information to show the development of narcissistictendencies.
The researchersshould also develop ways of validating the responses provided by theparticipants. In some cases, negative attitudes towards parentalauthority may cause the students to offer false details (Ramsey etal., 1996). In this regard, the authors should include subtlequestions designed to test the personal feelings of participantstowards their parents.
Notably, thereare several suggestions for future research based on the methods andresults of the current study. For example, it would be proper toexamine whether integrating more items to the Rosenberg Self-EsteemScale could improve its validity (Ramsey et al., 1996). It would alsobe prudent to investigate whether the tool could be extended to coverfive points. In many instances, altering the framework of aparticular scale leads to distorted results. Therefore, it is properto conduct thorough research to examine the functionality of suchtools under certain circumstances. Previous studies have pinpointedthat individual components of the OMNI had low internal reliability(Ramsey et al., 1996). Hence, future research could be conducted toexamine the accuracy of such a tool when additional parameters wereincluded.
Besides, theresearchers could not identify any hypothesized interactions betweenpaternal and maternal parenting methods. Therefore, future researchcould utilize tools that measure different combinations ofpermissive, authoritarian, and authoritative styles. Furthermore, theauthors acknowledged that parenting styles could be due to an unknownvariable. Therefore, future research needs to focus on the propertiesof parenting towards narcissistic tendencies.
Relation toSocial and Emotional Development
The study hasseveral links to social and emotional development. For example, theresearchers showed the impact of different parental styles on anindividual (Ramsey et al., 1996). Children are highly dependent ontheir parents for guidance and direction in daily affairs. Therefore,the study has highlighted the significance of the family setup. Bothparents need to cooperate while providing instruction, correction,and commendation to their children. Furthermore, authoritariantendencies need to be curbed due to their destructive nature. Infact, many children lose their self-esteem when they are subjected tocontinuous physical and emotional abuse. Therefore, parents need topay attention to their interactions with teenagers. In this manner,they can identify potential challenges that need to be addressed forbetter outcomes.
The researchersalso proved that inadequate parenting contributed to narcissistictendencies (Ramsey et al., 1996). Consequently, exasperated parentswould manifest permissive or authoritarian responses. The socialdevelopment of children owes to the example portrayed by parents. Inmany instances, teenagers and adults below 24 years would experiencechallenges from their peers in learning institutions. Subsequently,children would report their particular concerns to their parents. Ifteenagers get positive feedback, it can spur them to improve theirsocial interactions. Contrariwise, negative response from the parentswould discourage them from self-expression. In particular,authoritative guardians endeavor to control the actions of theirchildren. Therefore, such teenagers would have a diminished capacityto make firm decisions. On the other hand, permissive parents fail toset proper boundaries for their children. Consequently, childrenwould become unruly to the point of disobeying the establishedauthorities at home and at school.
Ramsey, A., Watson, P., Biderman, M., & Reeves, A. (1996).Self-Reported Narcissism and Perceived Parental Permissiveness andAuthoritarianism. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157(2),227-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.1996.9914860