chapter  6
26 Pages

Reflections in Troubled Waters: Narcissism and the Vicissitudes of an Interpersonally Contextualized Self

FREDERICK RHODEWALT AND CAROLYN C. MORF

The self is one of the most discussed and researched constructs in personality and social psychology. Leary and Tangney (2003) contended that it is one of psychology’s unifying concepts in that it serves as an umbrella for a diverse array of content areas spanning basic cognition and emotion to motivation and interpersonal and group behavior. People think about themselves; have feelings about the self; and are motivated to attain goals that enhance, defend, and expand the self. Moreover, they react to and structure their social worlds as a function of self-concerns and needs. The construct’s breadth is also one of its weaknesses. By obtaining the status of über-construct, the self’s various subelements often appear disjointed and unrelated. Thus, an overarching challenge to self researchers is to address the question of how the cognitive, affective, motivational, behavioral, and interpersonal components of the self cohere within the individual.