The Intricate Role of Dissociation in the Relations Between Childhood Maltreatment, Self-Objectification, and Narcissism

Anat Talmon*, Karni Ginzburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Abusive acts often involve the use of victims as objects for venting the perpetrators' impulses and urges; they may therefore be conceptualized as objectifying experiences and may lead to selfobjectification. This sense of self-objectification may lead to the development of narcissism- either grandiose narcissism or vulnerable narcissism, with the potential interruption of dissociation, which is often observed among survivors of childhood abuse in this dynamic. Accordingly, the current study examined a model in which the associations between childhood maltreatment and narcissism were mediated by self-objectification and moderated by dissociation. Method: A battery of selfreport questionnaires including the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Self-Objectification Scale, Brief-Pathological Narcissism Inventory, and Dissociative Experiences Scale were filled out by 766 college-university students. Results: Both grandiose and vulnerable narcissism were related to childhood maltreatment through the mediating role of self-objectification. Moreover, the analyses yielded significant interactions of self-objectification and dissociation in predicting both vulnerable narcissism and grandiose narcissism; that is, the associations between self-objectification and both types of narcissism were stronger among individuals with low levels of dissociation than among those with high levels of dissociation. Conclusions: These findings highlight the complex and ambiguous role of dissociation in the structure of the survivors' self and emphasize the importance of promoting their sense of subjectivity.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Dissociation
  • Narcissism
  • Self-objectification


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