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Spiritual Seeking, Narcissism, and Psychotherapy: How Are They Related?

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This study used data from a long-term longitudinal study of men and women to examine the relations among spirituality, narcissism, and psychotherapy. The findings indicated that in late adulthood (age late 60s/mid 70s) spirituality was related to autonomous or healthy narcissism but was unrelated to willful (overt) or hypersensitive (covert) narcissism, two pathological forms of the construct. Autonomy in early adulthood (age 30s) was a significant predictor of spirituality in late adulthood (a time interval of close to 40 years) and this relation was mediated by involvement in psychotherapy in midlife. Autonomy was related positively, and hypersensitivity was related negatively, to concern for the welfare of future generations. These findings are discussed in light of current concerns about the social implications of the therapeutic culture.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481-8203., Email: 2: Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824., Email: 3: Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, MA 02114., Email:

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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