Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 373–380 | Cite as

Is Narcissism Associated with Child Physical Abuse Risk?

  • Julie L. Crouch
  • Regina Hiraoka
  • Ericka Rutledge
  • Bettina Zengel
  • John J. Skowronski
  • Joel S. Milner
Original Article


The present study was designed to clarify the associations between covert narcissism, overt narcissism, negative affect, and child physical abuse (CPA) risk. It was hypothesized that covert (but not overt narcissism) would be significantly associated with parental CPA risk and that negative affect would partially mediate this association. General population parents (N = 178; 33 % male) with varying degrees of CPA risk completed self-report measures of covert narcissism, overt narcissism, and negative affect. Results revealed that at the bivariate level, covert narcissism and two subscales of the overt narcissism measure (exploitativeness and entitlement) were significantly correlated with CPA risk. However, when covert narcissism and overt narcissism were considered simultaneously in a regression analysis, only covert narcissism emerged as a significant predictor of CPA risk. Results of a path analysis supported the prediction that negative affect partially mediated the association between covert narcissism and CPA risk. Findings from the present study illustrate the value of assessing both overt and covert narcissistic features in research investigating the role of narcissism in interpersonal violence. Moreover, the results revealed that covert narcissism was associated with CPA risk, even after accounting for their mutual associations with negative affect. Additional research is needed to explicate the other cognitive/affective mechanisms through which covert narcissism increases risk of aggressive parenting behavior.


Personality Aggression Parenting Maltreatment Child abuse 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie L. Crouch
    • 1
  • Regina Hiraoka
    • 2
  • Ericka Rutledge
    • 2
  • Bettina Zengel
    • 2
  • John J. Skowronski
    • 2
  • Joel S. Milner
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual AssaultNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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