Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Narcissism, Narcissism-Sex differences, Men-Psychology, Women-Psychology, Overt narcissism, Covert narcissism, Gender and narcissism, Sex and narcissism, Grandiosity, Idealization, Women/female, Men/male, Megalomania, Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)


Within the past twenty years, there has been a proliferation of empirical research seeking to distinguish between overt and covert types of narcissism and to elucidate the differences between narcissistic pathology among men and women, yet these two areas of research have largely been carried out independently of one another in spite of clinical observations suggesting a relationship between them. This project was undertaken to systematically examine whether an overlap exists between the clinical category of overt narcissism and male/masculine narcissism, or between the category of covert narcissism and female/feminine narcissism. Secondly, it sought to elaborate on areas of overlap between these categories. Contemporary theoretical conceptualizations of narcissism and overt and covert types were presented, followed by a review of empirical research examining grandiosity/idealization, shame, self-esteem, and dominance and exploitativeness among overt and covert narcissists. Theories on gender and narcissism were then presented, followed by a review empirical research in the four categories previously listed. Areas of overlap with respect to both theory and research were identified and discussed. The findings suggest that both overt and male/masculine narcissists are marked by a greater tendency toward openly displayed grandiosity, whereas covert and female/feminine narcissists show a greater tendency toward idealization. Exploitativeness was found to be higher among overt and male narcissists than among covert and female narcissists; however, support for the later finding was mixed. The findings also indicated that whereas shame and self-esteem differ quantitatively between overt and covert types, differences between men and women in these areas are qualitative




iii, 77 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 74-77)