Date of Conferral







Susan L. Rarick


Narcissism has been identified as a threat to society and the individual. Individuals with high levels of narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) struggle to maintain jobs, stable relationships, and healthy life perspectives. Without knowledge about the origins of narcissism, mental health professionals may only be treating the symptoms of narcissism and not the factors that perpetuate its development. The purpose of this study was to measure narcissism in farming and law careers and to determine whether career is a factor in the development of narcissism. It was predicted that career would be an important developmental event and process that would have the ability to influence character traits (such as narcissism) through self-presentation, a process in symbolic interaction theory. To date, there has been no research on type of career as a factor in the development of narcissism. A cross-sectional design and 2-way independent analysis of covariance was used to compare narcissism in farming (N = 46) and law careers (N = 267) at the beginning and middle of individuals' careers, as well as after 10 years of experience. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference in narcissism between farmers and lawyers. Further, there was no significant difference in narcissism levels at the different stages of a law or farming career. Thus, career may not be a factor in the development of narcissism, and future research, theory development, treatment design, and cultural considerations may be best served by focusing on other phenomena to explain narcissism's effect in adulthood.