Paternal narcissism: Fathering very young children as compared to fathering adolescents

Ricky Finzi-Dottan, Orna Cohen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of paternal narcissism and fathers-tendencies toward avoidant or anxious caregiving on paternal warmth and involvement during two critical periods of child development: infancy and toddlerhood, and adolescence. We hypothesized that the children's characteristics would moderate these associations. The study participants were 150 fathers of infants and toddlers (aged 0-3) and 192 fathers of adolescents (aged 12-17). All fathers completed the following questionnaires: the Instrument of Father Involvement, PARQ-Short Form; the Narcissistic Personality Inventory; the Caregiving System Function Scale; and the Difficult Child questionnaire. Results indicated that whereas fathers of infants and toddlers were more involved in childrearing and reported feeling more warmth toward their children, fathers of adolescents perceived their children as more difficult. Interestingly, the more difficult the adolescent, the more involved the father was in rearing that adolescents; whereas for fathers of infants and toddlers, the more difficult the child, the less the father was involved. Moreover, in cases in which children were perceived as difficult, narcissism and avoidant caregiving were associated with decreased paternal warmth. Unlike the situation among fathers of infants and toddlers, high levels of narcissistic traits among fathers of adolescents were associated with greater involvement in childrearing. This finding is consistent with the literature that has argued that narcissism drives fathers to be overinvolved in the lives of their adolescent children. We concluded that paternal narcissism has a differential effect on the fathering of adolescents as compared to the fathering of very young children.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Psychology of Narcissism
Subtitle of host publicationDiverse Perspectives
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781634630344
ISBN (Print)9781634630054
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Caregiving
  • Child Characteristics
  • Fathering Adolescents
  • Fathering Infants
  • Fathering Toddlers
  • Paternal Narcissism


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