A comparison of college students with narcissistic versus avoidant personality features on forgiveness and vengeance measures

Nathaniel J DeYoung, Purdue University


The Self-Descriptive Inventory (SDI; Merritt, et al., in press) was administered to 220 male and 251 female college students, the majority of whom were European American. Based upon participants’ endorsement of DSM-IV-TR personality disorder criteria, narcissistic personality (NP), avoidant personality (AP), and normal personality control (NC) groups were formed. The NP group had significantly higher levels of vengeance and lower levels of trait forgiveness compared to the AP and NC groups. The groups did not differ in dispositional forgiveness, suggesting that measures of trait and dispositional forgiveness may not be capturing the same construct. The AP group scored significantly lower on self-forgiveness compared to the NP and NC groups. Use of the five factor model replicated past research with the NP group showing higher levels of Extraversion and lower levels of Agreeableness in comparison to the other two groups. Men endorsed significantly higher levels of both vengeance and dispositional forgiveness than women. Additionally, it appeared that the SDI captured a more pathological form of narcissism compared to the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; (Raskin & Hall, 1979).^




Rebecca D. Merritt, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

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