Webster, G. D., Kirkpatrick, L. A., Nezlek, J. B., Smith, C. V., & Paddock, E. L. (2007). Different slopes for different folks: Self-esteem instability and gender as moderators of the relationship between self-esteem and attitudinal aggression. Self and Identity, 6,. 74-94.
The present research examined the relationships among self-esteem level, temporal self-esteem instability, gender, and self-reported aggression. Self-esteem level was negatively related to attitudinal aggression, although this relationship varied as a joint function of self-esteem instability and gender. It was strongest among men with unstable self-esteem and among women with stable self-esteem. Although self-esteem instability and narcissism (Study 3) were each positively related to behavioral aggression, the relationship between narcissism and attitudinal aggression varied as a function of self-esteem instability. The relationship between narcissism and attitudinal aggression relationship was positive among people with stable self-esteem, but negative among people with unstable self-esteem, regardless of gender. The importance of considering gender, self-esteem instability, and narcissism in the self-esteem/aggression debate is discussed.