Journal article

Self-esteem, narcissism, and aggression: Does violence result from low self-esteem. or from threatened egotism?

RF Baumeister, BJ Bushman, WK Campbell

CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE | CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS | Published : 2000

Abstract

A traditional view holds that low self-esteem causes aggression, but recent work has not confirmed this. Although aggressive people typically have high self-esteem, there are also many nonaggressive people with high self-esteem, and so newer constructs such as narcissism and unstable self-esteem are most effective at predicting aggression. The link between self-regard and aggression is best captured by the theory of threatened egotism, which depicts aggression as a means of defending a highly favorable view of self against someone who seeks to undermine or discredit that view.