Parents who are narcissistic and control over their children, are more likely to abuse their children and have higher levels of abuse and neglect than other parents, according to a new study.
The study, published in Child Abuse: The Journal of Research and Treatment, found that the more narcissistic the parent, the more likely he or she is to abuse or neglect their children.
The results were based on data collected from a national survey conducted in 2011.
Narcissistic parents who abuse their offspring are more than twice as likely to be found responsible for child abuse and more than three times as likely for neglect, according the report.
The researchers surveyed 1,000 parents of children ages 4 to 12, and compared their rates of parental abuse and abuse and other neglect to rates of other families in their region.
The study found that fathers who abused their children were more than four times as often found responsible, and parents who abused other children were four times more likely than other children to be blamed for their parents’ abuse.
According to the researchers, narcissistic parents who control their children may also be more likely not to report abuse, neglect or child abuse.
“Our results suggest that narcissists may be more willing to tolerate maltreatment and other forms of child maltreatment than other parent types, despite their heightened level of control over the child’s life,” said lead author Dr. Stephanie A. Rea, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago.
Rea said the findings underscore the need for parents to be able to talk to their children about how their parents are controlling them.
“Many narcissistic parents will continue to abuse and control their offspring even if they have an opportunity to intervene,” she said.
“They may be so focused on their own needs and needs of their children that they do not even acknowledge the children’s needs or desires.
We think that’s a missed opportunity.”
Narcisis are defined as those who have an intense need for control and control that is based on a set of assumptions, expectations and behaviors that they believe are not rooted in reality, said Dr. John D. Smith, chair of the psychiatry department at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The findings also could have implications for people with severe mental illness and others who suffer from a lack of understanding or empathy.
“People with severe psychiatric illness, for example, may have a distorted view of their own feelings and feelings of others,” Smith said.
“We know from a number of studies that narcissistic parents are more prone to engage in interpersonal aggression.
We are still working to understand why that is.”
In a related study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Smith and Rea also found that narcissism was linked to the development of violent tendencies, depression and anxiety disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association published a statement about the study in the journal Psychological Medicine.