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Stolorow, R.D. Harrison, A.M. (1975). The Contribution of Narcissistic Vulnerability to Frustration-Aggression: A Theory and Partial Research Model. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 4(1):145-158.

(1975). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 4(1):145-158

The Contribution of Narcissistic Vulnerability to Frustration-Aggression: A Theory and Partial Research Model

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. and Adrienne M. Harrison, M.S.

The phenomenon of aggression has been the subject an of imposing volume of literature in the psychological and social sciences. Explanations of aggression have tended to be oriented toward one or the other side of the so-called “nature-nurture” controversy (Maple and Matheson, 1973). On the “nature” side of the argument are those theorists who, in the Darwinian tradition, regard aggression as deriving from the innate instinctual endowment of the organism (e.g., McDougall, 1926; Freud, 1920; Hartmann, Kris, and Loewenstein, 1949; Lorenz, 1966). On the “nurture” side are those who view aggression as the organism's response to influences emanating from its environment (e.g., Berkowitz, 1962; Bandura and Walters, 1963; Feshbach, 1964; Buss, 1966). In this paper we shall leave as an open question the possibility of an innate instinctual component in aggressive manifestations and propose some important addenda to what is perhaps the most influential and clinically relevant conceptualization to emerge from the “nurture” or environmentalist camp: the “frustration-aggression hypothesis.” Specifically, we shall suggest certain refinements in the frustration-aggression hypothesis in the light of recent investigations into the nature of narcissism and narcissistic vulnerability, and we shall outline a partial research model which we think might make it possible to test the validity of these theoretical revisions.


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