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Journal Article


Th├ęberge D, Gamache D. J. Interpers. Violence 2022; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2022, SAGE Publishing)






Pathological narcissism and borderline traits have been consistently associated with interpersonal aggression. Shame has been identified as an important trigger of aggressive behaviors in individuals with pathological personality traits, especially for narcissistic vulnerability and borderline traits. This is in line with Kohut's theory on narcissistic rage, that is, aggression, anger, and destruction that act as a protection for a grandiose self. The present study aims to investigate the interrelations between pathological narcissism, borderline traits, shame, and trait aggression, concepts that are parts of the narcissistic rage phenomenon introduced by Kohut, using path models. A total of 399 participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing personality traits (narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability, and borderline traits), shame, and aggression. Three path models including these variables were tested and compared to one another on fit indices.

RESULTS show that shame acts as a mediator between pathological traits (narcissistic vulnerability and borderline traits) and trait aggression, whereas the relationship between narcissistic grandiosity and aggression was direct (i.e., shame was not involved).

RESULTS expand the narcissistic rage theory by suggesting that it might represent an internalizing type of aggression that manifests in the context of narcissistic vulnerability and borderline traits, which is not the case for narcissistic grandiosity that exerts a direct effect on trait aggression.

Language: en


aggression; shame; borderline traits; narcissistic grandiosity; narcissistic rage; narcissistic vulnerability; path analysis


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