Session Abstract: Background: Malignant self-regard (MSR; Huprich, 2014) describes a self-structure that emerged out of the personality pathology literature and represents the shared features of vulnerable narcissism, depressive personality disorder (PD), and self-defeating/masochistic PD (SDPD). It has been positioned as a dimensional measure of internalizing personality pathology that accounts for many similarities in traditional personality taxonomies. However, the clinical significance of this construct has yet to be explored in great detail.

Methods: To assess this, a large community sample of undergrads (n = 2634) completed a battery of self-report questionnaires measuring various criterion variables, including the Malignant Self-Regard Questionnaire (MSRQ), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), the Self-Defeating Personality Scale (SDPS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), measures of suicidality, and more. To showcase MSR’s clinical utility, we split scores on the MSRQ into three groups: one containing all those who scored one standard deviation below the mean (Low MSR; n = 255), one who scored one standard deviation above the mean (High MSR; n = 253), and one group within one standard deviation of the mean (Medium MSR; n = 1178). We conducted analysis of variance (ANOVA) across these groups using several criterion measures.

Results: We observed clear linear relationships for most criterion measures in predicted directions. We then evaluated the frequency distributions of the criterion measures across MSR groups and consistently found bimodal distributions of high and low self-esteem and SDPD symptoms. Two 3x2 ANOVAs (MSR Group x self-esteem group; MSR Group x self-defeating group) yielded significant interaction effects, F(2,1645)=29.941, p = .000; F(2,1509)=3.581, p = .028. We also found that suicidal ideation was more prevalent in high MSR cases.

Discussion: Overall, high MSR scores are associated with more problematic clinical outcomes, with notable effects observed for self-esteem, self-defeating symptoms, and suicidal ideation. Specifically, those in the low MSR group tended to report limited suicidal ideation but no intention of attempting. Those in the medium MSR group tended to endorse a willingness to kill themselves, but only those in the high MSR group indicated they would kill themselves if given a chance. Thus, indicating a clinically meaningful difference between low, medium, and high levels of MSR. In addition, while self-esteem declines precipitously as one score higher on the MSRQ, self-defeating pathology increases at a similar rate.

Corresponding Author: Brady C. Malone | University of Detroit Mercy

Presentation 1 Title: A Categorical Evaluation of Malignant Self-Regard and its Clinically Relevant Phenomena


Brady C. Malone | University of Detroit Mercy

Steven Huprich PhD | University of Detroit Mercy

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