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Narcissism, family of origin, and career self-efficacy : a comparative study of university students.

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The literature claims that, whilst hindering normal narcissistic development, a family of origin characterised by high levels of cohesion and low levels of adaptability, promotes individual proficiency in interpersonal skills. Coupled with unconscious motivations for interpersonal need gratification, a subsequent predisposition towards a career choice in psychotherapy is likely. This study set out to test these assumptions by comparing family of origin types, levels of narcissism and career self-efficacy in postgraduate Masters psychology students, postgraduate final year law students and final year electronic engineering students currently enroled in University of Natal training programmes (N=85). Informed by the literature, this study hypothesised that trainee psychotherapists would report more extreme family of origin types, predict career self-efficacy in the direction of social occupations and display higher levels of narcissism than students in other fields of specialisation. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), FACES III of the Circumplex Model (Olson, McCubbin, Barnes, Larsen, Muxen & Wilson, 1985) and the Career Self-Efficacy Scale (Matsui & Tsukamoto, 1991) were utilised to assess the dimensions of narcissism, family of origin and career self-efficacy respectively. This study was unable to find significant connections between family of origin, narcissism and career self-efficacy, thereby failing to provide empirical support for the literature's claims. Results have been discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications and attempts have been made to account for the general lack of significant findings. Limitations of this study's research design and recommendations for future research in this area have been offered.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1996.


Narcissism., Psychotherapists--Mental health., Personality and occupation., Psychotherapy--Vocational guidance., Students--Psychology., Students--Vocational guidance., Psychotherapists--Family relationships., Students--Family relationships., Theses--Psychology.