Interpersonal and Individual Factors in the Grandiose Fantasies and Threats to Self-esteem of A Non-clinical Sample

Guido Veronese1, *, Giovanni Maria Ruggiero2, Sandra Sassaroli3, Marco Castiglioni1
1 Department of Human Sciences “R. Massa”, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
2 Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Ricerca, Psychotherapy School, Italy
3 Studi Cognitivi, Psychotherapy School, Italy

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© 2011 Veronese et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Human Sciences “R. Massa”, University of Milano-Bicocca, 1 P.zza dell’ Ateneo Nuovo, Milano, 20146, Italy; Tel: (+39) 26448-4914; Fax: +39 02 6448 4863; E-mail:


This study aimed to investigate whether interpersonal factors play a prominent role in the construction of narcissistic fantasies, by comparing memories of threat to self-esteem, grandiose fantasies and imaginary relaxing scenes.

A non-clinical group of university students produced written descriptions of each of these three types of scene. The qualitative features of the texts were analyzed and the contents were classified along three different dimensions: biological, psychological and interpersonal.

Memories of threat to self-esteem and grandiose fantasies were found to be mainly interpersonal in content, while the relaxing scenarios were characterized by both relational and biological elements.

Keywords: Interpersonal factors, narcissistic fantasies, threatened self-esteem, non-clinical sample.