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Relationships among overt and covert narcissism and vocational interests with respect to gender

Dissertation
Author: Darrin L. Carr
Abstract:
Larger numbers of students are attending four-year institutions than in previous years and are taking longer to complete their degree programs (Barton, 2002; Wirt, Choy, Rooney, Provasnik, Sen, & Tobin, 2004). These same students may also endorse higher levels of narcissism and have unrealistic expectations for their careers (Twenge, 2006). These trends present a challenge to career development professionals working in university and college settings. To assist students in solving their career problems, these professionals often assess vocational interests using Holland's theory and his Self-Directed Search (SDS) instrument (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994). Yet, little is known about the relationships between narcissism and vocational interests, as they are assessed by the SDS. There are, however, separate lines of inquiry in the theoretical and empirical literature on narcissism and vocational interests. Narcissism has been well described in both the analytic and cognitive-behavioral traditions (Freud, 1989; Beck & Freeman, 1990). More specifically, two kinds of narcissism, overt and covert, have been empirically distinguished (Wink, 1991). Vocational interests have been described and studied for almost a century (Parsons, 1909). Holland's Theory and the SDS have also been extensively discussed over the past 35 years (Ruff, Reardon, & Bertoch, 2007). One variable, which has been shown to be related to both narcissism and vocational interests, is gender (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell, 1994). Therefore, the question posed by this study was, "What are the relationships among overt and covert narcissistic personality traits and assessed vocational interests with respect to gender?" To answer this question, data were collected for a co-relational study from a final sample of 259 college students enrolled in a career development course at a large southeastern university. In addition to a demographic form, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997), and the SDS were administered to measure overt narcissism, covert narcissism, and Holland's primary and secondary constructs of vocational interests, respectively. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated by gender among overt narcissism, covert narcissism, the primary constructs (i.e., the six RIASEC code-types), and the secondary constructs of consistency, coherence, differentiation, commonness, and profile elevation. Significant relationships were found between overt narcissism and the Enterprising code-type for both male and female participants. In males, overt narcissism was found to be significantly related to differentiation using both the high-low and Iachan index methods. However, in females, only the high-low method of calculating differentiation was found to produce a significant relationship with overt narcissism. No significant relationships were found between covert narcissism and Holland's primary and secondary constructs. As demonstrated by z-tests, no significant differences were found by gender for the relationships between either kind of narcissism and vocational interests. Limitations of the study were reviewed including the fact the sample was significantly higher in overt narcissism and lower in covert narcissism than those in past studies. Findings were discussed using a synthesis of the narcissism and vocational interest literature. Recommendations were made for theory development, practice, and future avenues of research.

v TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Tables.........................................................................................................................ix List of Figures..........................................................................................................................x Abstract..................................................................................................................................xi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION............................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem...................................................................................................2 Research Question.............................................................................................................3 Specific Research Questions and Hypotheses...................................................................3 Social Significance of the Study........................................................................................5 Professional Significance of the Study..............................................................................6 Theory Bases......................................................................................................................7 Definition of Terms............................................................................................................8 Delimitations....................................................................................................................10 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE................................................................11 Narcissism........................................................................................................................12 Psychoanalytic Conceptualizations of Narcissism.....................................................12 History..................................................................................................................12 Conceptualization, etiology, & treatment from Kernberg’s viewpoint...............13 Conceptualization, etiology, & treatment from Kohut’s viewpoint....................14 Synthesis of Kernberg’s & Kohut’s viewpoints..................................................16 Cognitive-Behavioral Conceptualizations of Narcissism..........................................17 Schema Therapy Conceptualizations of Narcissism..................................................18 Clinical Description...................................................................................................20 Past diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder..............................20 Present diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.........................20 Continuum of Narcissism..........................................................................................21 Overt and Covert Narcissism.....................................................................................21 Overt narcissism described..................................................................................22 Covert narcissism described................................................................................22 Empirical evidence for differences......................................................................23 Empirical evidence for similarities......................................................................25 Individual Differences and Narcissism......................................................................26 Prevalence............................................................................................................26 Gender..................................................................................................................26 Age.......................................................................................................................27 Ethnicity & culture...............................................................................................28 Positive Function of Narcissism................................................................................29 Career Development and Narcissism.........................................................................29 Functional role.....................................................................................................29 Occupational choice.............................................................................................30 Decidedness.........................................................................................................32 Conclusion.................................................................................................................34

vi Vocational Interests.........................................................................................................34 Historical Roots.........................................................................................................34 Vocational Interests Defined......................................................................................35 Theoretical Constructs from Holland’s Theory.........................................................36 Primary & secondary constructs..........................................................................39 Personality types..................................................................................................39 Congruence..........................................................................................................43 Consistency..........................................................................................................43 Coherence of aspirations......................................................................................43 Differentiation......................................................................................................44 Profile elevation...................................................................................................44 Commonness........................................................................................................44 Critiques of Holland’s Theory………………………………………………….......44 Acquisition and Maintenance of Interests..................................................................45 Genetics................................................................................................................45 Learning...............................................................................................................45 Personality............................................................................................................45 Self-concept.........................................................................................................49 Individual Differences and Interests..........................................................................51 Gender..................................................................................................................51 Age.......................................................................................................................52 Culture & ethnicity..............................................................................................53 Conclusion.................................................................................................................54 Critical Analysis of the Literature on Narcissism and Vocational Interests....................55 Research Question...........................................................................................................60 Specific Research Questions and Hypotheses.................................................................60 Conclusion.......................................................................................................................62 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY.........................................................................................62 Participants.......................................................................................................................63 Procedures........................................................................................................................67 Variables..........................................................................................................................68 Instruments.......................................................................................................................69 Demographic Form and Occupational Alternatives Question...................................69 Narcissistic Personality Inventory.............................................................................70 Administration and scoring..................................................................................70 Standardization....................................................................................................70 Reliability.............................................................................................................71 Validity................................................................................................................71 Potential biases.....................................................................................................72 Summary..............................................................................................................73 Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale...............................................................................73 Administration and scoring..................................................................................73 Standardization....................................................................................................73 Reliability.............................................................................................................74 Validity................................................................................................................74

vii Potential biases.....................................................................................................75 Summary..............................................................................................................75 Self-Directed Search..................................................................................................75 Administration and scoring..................................................................................76 Standardization....................................................................................................77 Reliability.............................................................................................................77 Validity................................................................................................................77 Potential biases.....................................................................................................78 Summary..............................................................................................................78 Research Design...............................................................................................................79 Data Analyses..................................................................................................................79 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS.......................................................................................................80 Characteristics of the Participants....................................................................................80 Research Question One....................................................................................................88 Research Question Two...................................................................................................89 Research Question Three.................................................................................................90 Research Question Four...................................................................................................91 CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION.................................................................................................93 Characteristics of the Participants....................................................................................93 Research Question One....................................................................................................95 Research Question Two...................................................................................................97 Research Question Three.................................................................................................98 Research Question Four...................................................................................................99 Limitations of the Study.................................................................................................100 Limitations in Sampling...........................................................................................100 Limitations in Measures...........................................................................................101 Limitations in Data Analyses...................................................................................101 Implications....................................................................................................................102 Implications for Theory Development.....................................................................104 Implications for Research........................................................................................105 Implications for Practice..........................................................................................105 Conclusion.....................................................................................................................108 APPENDIX A: Procedure for Calculating the Iachan Agreement Index............................109 APPENDIX B: Procedure for Calculating the Iachan Differentiation Index......................111 APPENDIX C: Procedure for Obtaining a Summary Aspirations Code.............................113 APPENDIX D: Institutional Review Board Approval Letter..............................................115 APPENDIX E: Data Collection Scripts...............................................................................117 APPENDIX F: Informed Consent Form..............................................................................120 APPENDIX G: Demographic Information Sheet................................................................122 APPENDIX H: Narcissistic Personality Inventory..............................................................125

viii APPENDIX I: Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale.................................................................129 APPENDIX J: Goal Instability Scale..................................................................................131 APPENDIX K: Self-Directed Search Form R Professional Summary................................133 REFERENCES....................................................................................................................135 NOTES ............................................................................................................................152 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...............................................................................................153

ix LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. The Cognitive-Behavioral Conceptualization of the Narcissistic Personality...................18 Table 2. A Brief Description of the Holland Personality Typology................................................41 Table 3. A Brief Description of the Holland Environmental Typology..........................................42 Table 4. Sample Demographics Compared to University Population.............................................64 Table 5. Demographics of Participants Leaving Study...................................................................65 Table 6. Means and Standard Deviations of Demographic Variables.............................................67 Table 7. Cronbach’s Alpha Internal Consistency of Narcissism Measures by Gender...................80 Table 8. Correlations between Age, Minority Status, and Narcissism............................................81 Table 9. Means and Standard Deviations of Measures....................................................................82 Table 10. Frequency of Vocational Interest High-Point Codes.......................................................83 Table 11. Means and Standard Deviations of Measures by Gender................................................84 Table 12. Most Frequent Majors by Gender....................................................................................85 Table 13. Most Frequent Major Changes........................................................................................86 Table 14. Most Frequent Occupational Titles of Recent Vocational Aspirations by Gender.........87 Table 15. Most Frequent Code-types of Recent Vocational Aspirations by Gender.......................88 Table 16. Correlations between Overt Narcissism and Primary Constructs by Gender..................89 Table 17. Correlations between Covert Narcissism and Primary Constructs by Gender................90 Table 18. Correlations between Overt Narcissism and Secondary Constructs by Gender..............91 Table 19. Correlations between Covert Narcissism and Secondary Constructs by Gender............92

x LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. The RIASEC Hexagon.......................................................................................38 Figure 2. Direct Relationships Among the RIASEC Typology and Two Kinds of Narcissism...........................................................................57 Figure 3. Indirect Relationships Among the RIASEC Typology and Two Kinds of Narcissism via the Five Factor Model................................58

xi ABSTRACT Larger numbers of students are attending four-year institutions than in previous years and are taking longer to complete their degree programs (Barton, 2002; Wirt, Choy, Rooney, Provasnik, Sen, & Tobin, 2004). These same students may also endorse higher levels of narcissism and have unrealistic expectations for their careers (Twenge, 2006). These trends present a challenge to career development professionals working in university and college settings. To assist students in solving their career problems, these professionals often assess vocational interests using Holland’s theory and his Self-Directed Search (SDS) instrument (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994). Yet, little is known about the relationships between narcissism and vocational interests, as they are assessed by the SDS. There are, however, separate lines of inquiry in the theoretical and empirical literature on narcissism and vocational interests. Narcissism has been well described in both the analytic and cognitive-behavioral traditions (Freud, 1989; Beck & Freeman, 1990). More specifically, two kinds of narcissism, overt and covert, have been empirically distinguished (Wink, 1991). Vocational interests have been described and studied for almost a century (Parsons, 1909). Holland’s Theory and the SDS have also been extensively discussed over the past 35 years (Ruff, Reardon, & Bertoch, 2007). One variable, which has been shown to be related to both narcissism and vocational interests, is gender (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell, 1994). Therefore, the question posed by this study was, “What are the relationships among overt and covert narcissistic personality traits and assessed vocational interests with respect to gender?” To answer this question, data were collected for a co-relational study from a final sample of 259 college students enrolled in a career development course at a large southeastern university. In addition to a demographic form, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997), and the SDS were administered to measure overt narcissism, covert narcissism, and Holland’s primary and secondary constructs of vocational interests, respectively. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated by gender among overt narcissism, covert narcissism, the primary constructs (i.e., the six RIASEC code-types), and the secondary constructs of consistency, coherence, differentiation, commonness, and profile elevation. Significant relationships were found between overt narcissism and the Enterprising code-type for both male and female participants. In males,

xii overt narcissism was found to be significantly related to differentiation using both the high-low and Iachan index methods. However, in females, only the high-low method of calculating differentiation was found to produce a significant relationship with overt narcissism. No significant relationships were found between covert narcissism and Holland’s primary and secondary constructs. As demonstrated by z-tests, no significant differences were found by gender for the relationships between either kind of narcissism and vocational interests. Limitations of the study were reviewed including the fact the sample was significantly higher in overt narcissism and lower in covert narcissism than those in past studies. Findings were discussed using a synthesis of the narcissism and vocational interest literature. Recommendations were made for theory development, practice, and future avenues of research.

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION For decades, both the popular media and the psychology literature has commented on the apparent increase in narcissism among late adolescents and young adults in our society (Lasch, 1979; Twenge, 2006). A recent meta-analytic study suggested that college students of the early 21 st century are more narcissistic than previous generations (Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, & Bushman, 2008). The concept of narcissism is rooted in the original myth of the vain and self- obsessed Narcissus (Ovid, 1955). It has been conceptualized from analytic (Freud, 1915; Kernberg, 1975; Kohut, 1971) and cognitive behavioral perspectives (Beck & Freeman, 1990). The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000) describes narcissism as an overt and serious psychopathology. However, more recent studies have posited the existence of covert (Wink, 1991) or even “healthy” narcissism (Sedikides, Rudich, Gregg, Kumashiro, & Rusbult, 2004). It has also been suggested that narcissism contributes to the idealism and the alternating grandiosity and despondency, which characterizes adolescence (Jacoby, 1990). A key developmental task of adolescence is the establishment of an identity, which includes a vocational identity (Erikson, 1963; Holland, Daiger, & Power, 1980). For some college-aged adolescents, the exploration associated with the formation of vocational identity is a painful task (Krumboltz, 1983). In fact, the anxiety resulting from career exploration and career decisions has been termed zeteophobia, or the “fear of searching out” (Krumboltz, 1992). Several theories have been proposed to explain the problems that college students encounter when making career decisions. One such theory is the cognitive information processing (CIP) approach to career problem solving and decision making (Peterson, Sampson, & Reardon, 1991; Peterson, Sampson, Lenz, & Reardon, 2002; Peterson, Sampson, Reardon, & Lenz, 1996; Reardon, Lenz, Sampson, & Peterson, 2000, 2006). From the CIP perspective, those individuals who have difficulty with career problem solving may be experiencing low readiness for decision making (Peterson, Lenz, & Sampson, 2003; Sampson, Reardon, Peterson, & Lenz, 2004). This low readiness may be due to an individual’s limited capability for making a career decision. Complexity in the environment can also lower readiness for career decision making. In the CIP approach, one of several factors considered primary to capability for career choice is possessing an accurate perception of one’s vocational interests (i.e., well differentiated schema

2 of self-knowledge). Inaccurate perceptions of self are a key element of narcissism (Beck & Freeman, 1990). The study of vocational behavior and interests is a foundational element in the field of counseling psychology and career counseling (Betsworth & Fouad, 1997). While there is no clear consensus on the etiology of vocational interests (e.g., environment vs. genetics), the construct has become widely investigated in the counseling literature (Hansen, 1984; Holland, 1997). More specifically, Holland’s theory (1963, 1966, 1973, 1997) is cited as being the most influential theory in the practice of vocational assessment. Holland’s Self-Directed Search (SDS, Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994) is simultaneously a carefully developed, standardized instrument based on Holland’s theory and a “simulated career counseling and planning activity” (Reardon & Lenz, 1998, p. 60). It is thought to be the most frequently used and widely translated vocational assessment in the world (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). Several “diagnostic signs,” also known as “secondary constructs,” provided by the SDS include congruence of aspirations to summary code, coherence of aspirations, consistency of summary code, and differentiation of summary code scores. These secondary constructs describe an individual’s personal career theory and readiness for career decision making (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). While numerous studies have been conducted relating Holland’s RIASEC theory of vocational interests to other relevant personality constructs (e.g., the Big Five model of personality) (Bullock, 2006; Sullivan & Hanson, 2004), few studies have explored the relationships among vocational interests and the personality traits of narcissism. Given the potential increase of narcissism among college students (Twenge et al., 2008), the dearth of research in vocational interests that integrates narcissism is an important topic for investigation. Therefore, this will be the topic of study in this paper. The remainder of this chapter includes a statement of the problem, the research questions to be investigated, and the social significance of the study. Statement of the Problem To date, the relationship between narcissism and vocational interests has not been fully examined in the literature. Existing research has only focused on the measurement of narcissism based on psychoanalytic models of personality and the prevalence of narcissism among individuals pursuing specific occupations. More specifically, two different kinds of narcissism,

3 overt and covert, have been empirically distinguished. However, there have been few studies conducted relating narcissism to career decision making (Mako, 1991; Robbins, 1983). Two studies have described possible relationships between overt narcissism and assessed vocational interests (Holland, Johnston, & Asama, 1994; Strack, 1994) in the process of broader investigations on the relationships between personality and vocational interests. However, none of these studies focused on college students seeking career services. Furthermore, no studies have looked at the relationship of covert narcissism and assessed vocational interests. With the exception of profile elevation (Fuller, Holland, & Johnston, 1999), the relationships between secondary constructs in Holland’s theory and narcissism have not been described. One shortcoming is that these studies have treated narcissism as one of a cluster of other personality traits, using comprehensive instruments of personality, which usually devote only a small percentage of items to measuring each construct. Also, none of the studies conducted have sampled college students seeking career development services. Finally, these studies have not consistently accounted for gender and have not considered possible relationships with age and minority group status, all of which have been shown to be related to both narcissism and vocational interests. These deficits indicate the need for the following research question. Research Question Given the content and methodological gaps in the literature noted previously, the following research question has been constructed: What are the relationships among overt and covert narcissistic personality traits and assessed vocational interests with respect to gender? Specific Research Questions and Hypotheses 1. What is the relationship between assessed vocational interests and overt narcissism with respect to gender? H1.a: There is no relationship between assessed vocational interests and overt narcissism in males. H1.b: There is no relationship between assessed vocational interests and overt narcissism in females. H1.c: There is no significant difference by gender in relationships between vocational interests and overt narcissism. 2. What is the relationship between assessed vocational interests and covert narcissism with respect to gender? H2.a: There is no relationship between assessed vocational interests and covert narcissism in males.

4 H2.b: There is no relationship between assessed vocational interests and covert narcissism in females. H2.c: There is no significant difference by gender in relationships between vocational interests and covert narcissism. 3. What is the relationship between secondary constructs of vocational interests and overt narcissism with respect to gender? H3.1.a: There is no relationship between consistency and overt narcissism in males. H3.1.b: There is no relationship between consistency and overt narcissism in females. H3.2.a: There is no relationship between coherence and overt narcissism in males. H3.2.b: There is no relationship between coherence and overt narcissism in females. H3.3.a: There is no relationship between differentiation and overt narcissism in males. H3.3.b: There is no relationship between differentiation and overt narcissism in females. H3.4.a: There is no relationship between commonness and overt narcissism in males. H3.4.b: There is no relationship between commonness and overt narcissism in females. H3.5.a: There is no relationship between profile elevation and overt narcissism in males. H3.5.b: There is no relationship between profile elevation and overt narcissism in females. H3.6: There is no significant difference by gender in relationships between secondary constructs and overt narcissism. 4. What is the relationship between secondary constructs of vocational interests and covert narcissism with respect to gender? H4.1.a: There is no relationship between consistency and covert narcissism in males. H4.1.b: There is no relationship between consistency and covert narcissism in females. H4.2.a: There is no relationship between coherence and covert narcissism in males. H4.2.b: There is no relationship between coherence and covert narcissism in females. H4.3.a: There is no relationship between differentiation and covert narcissism in males. H4.3.b: There is no relationship between differentiation and covert narcissism in females. H4.4.a: There is no relationship between commonness and covert narcissism in males. H4.4.b: There is no relationship between commonness and covert narcissism in females.

5 H4.5.a: There is no relationship between profile elevation and covert narcissism in males. H4.5.b: There is no relationship between profile elevation and covert narcissism in females. H4.6: There is no significant difference by gender in relationships between secondary constructs and covert narcissism. Social Significance of the Study The career decision-making process of individual students takes place in a larger cultural and sociopolitical context. This context involves multiple stakeholders such as policy makers, college faculty, staff, students, and parents. Evidence of the significance of this topic is shown in the recent debate over graduation rates of students from four year universities and federal policy proposals that would penalize or reward institutions based upon those rates (Burd, 2004). While access to college for high school seniors increased between 1972 and 1992, rates of completion remained unchanged (Barton, 2002). One study compared students who enrolled in four-year colleges in 1989 with those who enrolled in 1995 (Wirt, Choy, Rooney, Provasnik, Sen, & Tobin, 2004). Some 53% of both cohorts completed a degree within 5 years; however, the 1995 cohort was more likely to have no degree and still be enrolled (17% in 1989 vs. 13% in 1995). This 1995 cohort was also less likely to have left postsecondary education without a degree (20% in 1989 vs. 24% in 1995). In short, it appears that while more students are attending four-year institutions, and slightly more are graduating, they may be taking longer to complete their degree programs. Some policy makers have addressed this trend by tying funding to degree completion time (Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 2006) and implementing academic milestones for course scheduling and selection by students (Florida State University, 2007). The economic cost of longer degree completion times is significant and has been shifting from institutions to students and their families (Kramer, 1993). For the individual, this not only means additional expenses associated with higher education, but the opportunity cost of lost wages. For the institution, additional students remaining enrolled for longer periods of time results in higher costs of facility upkeep and personnel expenses. Furthermore, fewer graduates leads to a smaller, less skilled workforce for employers, which in turn diminishes the tax base for local, state, and national governments.

6 Professional Significance of the Study It is often the professional counselor in a college advising, counseling, or career center who is tasked by the institution to provide solutions to the above systemic problems. However, these professionals are often confronted with a herculean workload. In a 2005 nationwide survey of first year college students, some 49% expected to change their major, but only 30% actually took action to do so in their first year (Hurtado, Sax, Saenz, Harper, Osequera, Curley, Lopez, Wolf, & Arellano, 2007). Similarly, one university identified that some 27% of first year students, and 14% of upper division transfer students, changed their major at least once during 1994 (California Polytechnic State University, 2001). As these students struggle to make career decisions, they may set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. As cited by Twenge et al. (2008), 29% more first-year college students cited financial success as important life goal in 2004 than the 45% of their predecessors did in 1967 (Astin, Oseguera, Sax, & Korn, 2004). Similarly, the Pew Research Center (2007, p. 12) noted that some 64% of 18 to 25 year-olds stated that ‘getting rich’ was the most important goal of their generation (an increase of 19% over the previous generation). Obtaining fame was the second most important goal at 50% (a 21% increase from the previous generation). Helping others came in third at 30% (a 6% decrease from the previous generation). Students also have high expectations for the level of education they will be able to attain. Yet, these expectations may not be practical. For example, while 51% of high school graduates expected to earn degrees beyond the bachelor’s degree, in reality, only 9% of 25 to 34 year olds hold these degrees (Reynolds, Stewart, MacDonald, & Sischo, 2006). Similarly, 61% of high school graduates expected to hold a professional position by age 30, while only 18% of high school graduates have historically attained these positions (Reynolds et al., 2006). Therefore, as student bodies grow larger, they appear to be encountering increasing institutional pressure to graduate in a timely manner, while also experiencing an increase in self- imposed pressures to achieve what may be impractical goals for “success.” This phenomenon may result in increased career development services utilization, which would stretch already limited resources. Given this increased demand for services, career development services need effective methods of evaluating student needs and delivering the correct nature and degree of services they make available in a cost-effective manner.

7 One method of matching student needs to service delivery is the differentiated service delivery model; a component of the previously mentioned CIP approach. While it is often developmentally appropriate for students to revisit previously made career decisions (e.g., changing a major), some students have more difficulty making career decisions than others (Sampson et al., 2004). Students’ efforts to change their majors are hindered by their limited decision-making skills and related cognitive, emotional, and behavioral antecedents that yielded the major change. The increasingly common narcissism displayed by students has the potential to hinder successful career decision making and further strain career service delivery systems. It is possible that narcissistic personality traits may result in individuals making slower progress in counseling relationships, approaching assessments with a particular bias, or discount information from the external world due to a biased schema. In extreme cases of narcissistic personality disorders, the client may be unable to profit from a helping relationship (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). It is important that career development professionals in postsecondary institutions provide quality services which prevent or remediate the career decision-making difficulties of students. However, these professionals are challenged by the increasing number of students they must serve and the greater complexity of these students’ problems. Given these circumstances, a better description of the relationships of narcissism to vocational interests may better inform the delivery of career development services and, in-turn, the career decisions of college students. Theory Bases The theoretical and empirical literature may inform the investigation of the relationship between narcissism and vocational interests. The psychoanalytic tradition, starting with Freud (1914), and continuing with Kohut (1971, 1975) and Kernberg (1971), forms the foundation of the investigation and treatment of narcissism. More recent theoretical developments, such as cognitive-behavioral theory (Beck & Freeman, 1990) and schema therapy (Young, Klosko, & Weisharr, 2003), have also contributed to our modern understanding of this phenomenon. The research and practice of vocational interest assessment is also firmly grounded in the theory of John Holland (1966, 1973, 1997). More recent theories, such as the cognitive information processing approach (Peterson, Sampson, & Reardon, 1991; Peterson, Peterson, Sampson, Lenz, & Reardon, 2002; Reardon, Lenz, Sampson, & Peterson, 2000, 2006; Sampson, Reardon, &

8 Lenz, 1996;), have informed the delivery of appropriate services, such as vocational interest and personality assessment, based on client needs and readiness. However, no in-depth discussion of the theoretical relationships between narcissism and vocational interests appears to have occurred in the literature to date. The following terminology definitions are used throughout this study and are grounded in the theory that is present in the literature: Definition of Terms Throughout this study, terms may be used that have meanings different from common usage. The following definitions are provided to support the reader’s understanding of the literature review, methodology, results and analyses, and discussion. Assessed Interests: An objective declaration of vocational interests, operationalized on the SDS (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994), by the endorsement of activities, occupations, competencies, and self-estimates of skills and abilities (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). Coherence : “…the degree to which codes for a client’s occupational daydreams belong in the same RIASEC category…”, operationalized on the SDS by checking the similarity of the first Holland letters of the first three occupational daydream codes (Reardon & Lenz, 1998, p. 64). Commonness : The frequency with which codes are observed in the population. Common codes are associated with higher stability of choice (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). Codes occurring with a frequency of greater than 4.5% are categorized as high; between 0.11% and 4.49% are categorized as average; and those less than 0.10% are categorized as low. Congruence : The degree of relatedness between two 3-letter RIASEC codes (i.e., a person’s interests and an occupational, leisure, or educational environment). Congruence on the SDS is calculated by the degree of the match between a person’s assessed and expressed interests (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). Consistency : Degree of relatedness within a person or environment of the first two letters in a Holland code (Holland, 1997). Consistency is operationalized on the SDS by how adjacent the first two letters of a three-letter summary code are on the RIASEC Hexagon (Reardon & Lenz, 1998).

Covert narcissism : A personality trait characterized by an interpersonal style involving a pattern of conflict leading to anger and shame, giving the impression of labile mood,

9 interpersonal anxiety, and social withdrawal. Behavioral signs of shyness (inhibition) and constrained affect (passivity) act as defenses which protect a disavowed psychological core of grandiose expectations and entitlements (Masterson, 1993; Wink, 1991). Differentiation : “…the level of definition or distinctness of a personality profile,” (Reardon & Lenz, 1998, p. 262) reported on the SDS Professional Summary through a continuous Iachan Differentiation Index and a categorical grouping of low, average, or high based upon gender and group norms (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994).

Differentiation High-Low : A measure of differentiation calculated by subtracting the lowest score in the profile from the highest score in the profile (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1997; Reardon & Lenz, 1998, p. 262).

Expressed Interests : A subjective declaration of vocational interests, operationalized on the SDS by a statement, coding, and summarization of occupational daydreams (i.e., aspirations) (Reardon & Lenz, 1998). Gender : Generally and non-technically, a synonym for sex; but more specifically, the behavioral, social, and cultural attributes associated with sex (Colman, 2006). Hexagon : A six-sided model defining the psychological resemblances among personality types and environments, and their interactions using the RIASEC typology. The distances among the types and environments are inversely proportional to the theoretical relationships between them (Holland, 1997, p. 5). Iachan Agreement Index : A continuous index of congruence between two 3-letter RIASEC codes calculated on the SDS through a weighted sum yielding a minimum score of 1 and a maximum score of 28 (see Appendix A) (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994). Iachan Differentiation Index : A continuous index of profile distinctiveness calculated on the SDS by subtracting the average of the second and fourth highest scores from the highest scale score and then dividing this difference by two (see Appendix B). This index is normalized with a minimum score of 2.75 and a maximum score of 15 (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994) Interest Profile Elevation : The sum of the six section scores on the SDS (Fuller, Holland, & Johnston, 1999). Scores range from a low of 14 to a high of 300.

Narcissist: An individual displaying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors consistent with high amounts of either overt or covert narcissism. The term narcissist does not necessarily

10 imply a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While it is more appropriate to use the phrase “person exhibiting narcissistic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors” the term “narcissist” is used in this dissertation for the sake of simplicity. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with narcissism can be placed on a continuum, with some individuals exhibiting many of these attributes and others exhibiting few, if any. Occupational Daydreams : An expression of vocational interests in the form of future, desirable occupational pursuits (Page 3 of the SDS). Overt narcissism : A personality trait characterized by an interpersonal style and accompanying behaviors, which may include grandiosity, exhibitionism, exploitation and insensitivity to others, and a sense of entitlement. These behaviors hide core beliefs of shame and doubt that, though well defended by overt self-enhancement, denial of weaknesses, and splitting, can yield outbursts of anger and aggression when these beliefs are activated by others (Beck & Freeman, 1990; Dickinson & Pincus, 2003; Kernberg, 1975; Kohut, 1971; Wink, 1991). Personality : “The sum total of the behavioral and mental characteristics that are distinctive of an individual” (Colman, 2006).

Sex: “The sum total of biological attributes on which males and females are differentiated” (Colman, 2006). Vocational Interests : “… the expression of personality in work, hobbies, recreational activities, and preferences” (Holland, 1973, p. 7). Delimitations This study does not include all possible variables related to narcissism and vocational interests as such a database would be unmanageable. For example, demographic variables such as age and ethnicity may relate to both degree and kind of narcissism, as well as the measurement of assessed interests. Furthermore, personality traits other than narcissism (e.g., neuroticism), may also be significantly related to vocational interests. However, these and other variables will not be included, due to the anticipated restricted age range of the sample, cell size limitations, and a desire to avoid assessment fatigue among participants. Finally, the findings of this study will not be generalizable to all individuals, but only to those who typically enroll in university career development courses. This restriction of generalizability may also apply to the

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Abstract: Larger numbers of students are attending four-year institutions than in previous years and are taking longer to complete their degree programs (Barton, 2002; Wirt, Choy, Rooney, Provasnik, Sen, & Tobin, 2004). These same students may also endorse higher levels of narcissism and have unrealistic expectations for their careers (Twenge, 2006). These trends present a challenge to career development professionals working in university and college settings. To assist students in solving their career problems, these professionals often assess vocational interests using Holland's theory and his Self-Directed Search (SDS) instrument (Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994). Yet, little is known about the relationships between narcissism and vocational interests, as they are assessed by the SDS. There are, however, separate lines of inquiry in the theoretical and empirical literature on narcissism and vocational interests. Narcissism has been well described in both the analytic and cognitive-behavioral traditions (Freud, 1989; Beck & Freeman, 1990). More specifically, two kinds of narcissism, overt and covert, have been empirically distinguished (Wink, 1991). Vocational interests have been described and studied for almost a century (Parsons, 1909). Holland's Theory and the SDS have also been extensively discussed over the past 35 years (Ruff, Reardon, & Bertoch, 2007). One variable, which has been shown to be related to both narcissism and vocational interests, is gender (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell, 1994). Therefore, the question posed by this study was, "What are the relationships among overt and covert narcissistic personality traits and assessed vocational interests with respect to gender?" To answer this question, data were collected for a co-relational study from a final sample of 259 college students enrolled in a career development course at a large southeastern university. In addition to a demographic form, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997), and the SDS were administered to measure overt narcissism, covert narcissism, and Holland's primary and secondary constructs of vocational interests, respectively. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated by gender among overt narcissism, covert narcissism, the primary constructs (i.e., the six RIASEC code-types), and the secondary constructs of consistency, coherence, differentiation, commonness, and profile elevation. Significant relationships were found between overt narcissism and the Enterprising code-type for both male and female participants. In males, overt narcissism was found to be significantly related to differentiation using both the high-low and Iachan index methods. However, in females, only the high-low method of calculating differentiation was found to produce a significant relationship with overt narcissism. No significant relationships were found between covert narcissism and Holland's primary and secondary constructs. As demonstrated by z-tests, no significant differences were found by gender for the relationships between either kind of narcissism and vocational interests. Limitations of the study were reviewed including the fact the sample was significantly higher in overt narcissism and lower in covert narcissism than those in past studies. Findings were discussed using a synthesis of the narcissism and vocational interest literature. Recommendations were made for theory development, practice, and future avenues of research.