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Concept: Narcissism


Narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth, and contribute to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism, however, are not well understood. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first prospective longitudinal evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. We compared two perspectives: social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation) and psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth). We timed the study in late childhood (ages 7-12), when individual differences in narcissism first emerge. In four 6-mo waves, 565 children and their parents reported child narcissism, child self-esteem, parental overvaluation, and parental warmth. Four-wave cross-lagged panel models were conducted. Results support social learning theory and contradict psychoanalytic theory: Narcissism was predicted by parental overvaluation, not by lack of parental warmth. Thus, children seem to acquire narcissism, in part, by internalizing parents' inflated views of them (e.g., “I am superior to others” and “I am entitled to privileges”). Attesting to the specificity of this finding, self-esteem was predicted by parental warmth, not by parental overvaluation. These findings uncover early socialization experiences that cultivate narcissism, and may inform interventions to curtail narcissistic development at an early age.

Concepts: Sociology, Child, Childhood, Knowledge, Psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan, Narcissism, Narcissistic parents


Narcissism scores are higher in individualistic cultures compared with more collectivistic cultures. However, the impact of sociocultural factors on narcissism and self-esteem has not been well described. Germany was formerly divided into two different social systems, each with distinct economic, political and national cultures, and was reunified in 1989/90. Between 1949 and 1989/90, West Germany had an individualistic culture, whereas East Germany had a more collectivistic culture. The German reunification provides an exceptional opportunity to investigate the impact of sociocultural and generational differences on narcissism and self-esteem. In this study, we used an anonymous online survey to assess grandiose narcissism with the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI) to assess grandiose and vulnerable aspects of narcissism, and self-esteem with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) in 1,025 German individuals. Data were analyzed according to age and place of birth. Our results showed that grandiose narcissism was higher and self-esteem was lower in individuals who grew up in former West Germany compared with former East Germany. Further analyses indicated no significant differences in grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism or self-esteem in individuals that entered school after the German reunification (≤ 5 years of age in 1989). In the middle age cohort (6-18 years of age in 1989), significant differences in vulnerable narcissism, grandiose narcissism and self-esteem were observed. In the oldest age cohort (> 19 years of age in 1989), significant differences were only found in one of the two scales assessing grandiose narcissism (NPI). Our data provides empirical evidence that sociocultural factors are associated with differences in narcissism and self-esteem.

Concepts: Germany, Western Europe, Narcissistic personality disorder, West Germany, German reunification, East Berlin, Narcissism, States of Germany


This research was aimed to provide a comprehensive test of the classic notion that narcissistic individuals are appealing as short-term romantic or sexual partners. In three studies, we tested the hypotheses that narcissism exerts a positive effect on an individual’s mate appeal and that this effect is mediated by high physical attractiveness and high social boldness. We implemented a multimethod approach and used ratings of opposite sex persons (Study 1), ratings of friends (Study 2), and records of courtship outcomes in naturalistic interactions (Study 3) as indicators of mate appeal. In all cases, narcissism had a positive effect on mate appeal, which was mainly due to the agentic self-enhancement aspects of narcissism (rather than narcissists' lacking communion). As predicted, physical attractiveness and social boldness mediated the positive effect of narcissism on mate appeal. Findings further indicated that narcissism was more strongly linked to mate appeal than to friend appeal.

Concepts: Individualism, Individual, Narcissistic personality disorder, Narcissism, Narcissus


We present a process model that distinguishes 2 dimensions of narcissism: admiration and rivalry. We propose that narcissists' overarching goal of maintaining a grandiose self is pursued by 2 separate pathways, characterized by distinct cognitive, affective-motivational, and behavioral processes. In a set of 7 studies, we validated this 2-dimensional model using the newly developed Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ). We showed that narcissistic admiration and rivalry are positively correlated dimensions, yet they have markedly different nomological networks and distinct intra- and interpersonal consequences. The NARQ showed the hypothesized 2-dimensional multifaceted structure as well as very good internal consistencies (Study 1, N = 953), stabilities (Study 2, N = 93), and self-other agreements (Study 3, N = 96). Narcissistic admiration and rivalry showed unique relations to the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), the Big Five, self-esteem, pathological narcissism, and other narcissism-related traits like Machiavellianism, psychopathy, self-enhancement, and impulsivity (Study 4, Ns = 510-1,814). Despite the positive relation between admiration and rivalry, the 2 differentially predicted general interpersonal orientations and reactions to transgressions in friendships and romantic relationships (Study 5, N = 1,085), interpersonal perceptions during group interactions (Study 6, N = 202), and observed behaviors in experimental observations (Study 7, N = 96). For all studies, the NARQ outperformed the standard measure of narcissism, the NPI, in predicting outcome measures. Results underscore the utility of a 2-dimensional conceptualization and measurement of narcissism. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Human behavior, Antisocial personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Narcissism, Narcissistic parents, Jointness


There is theoretical reason to believe narcissism is associated with a number of sexual behaviors and outcomes that affect both sexual and relationship satisfaction. Nevertheless, research on the association between personality and behavior demonstrates that personality traits, such as narcissism, only predict behavior in domains that activate the components of the personality system. Given that global assessments of narcissism do not capture the extent to which the components of narcissism are activated in the sexual domain, we examined the extent to which the facets of a domain-specific measure of sexual narcissism accounted for the trajectories of own and partner sexual and marital satisfaction over the first five years of 120 new marriages. Three of the four facets of sexual narcissism (sexual exploitation, sexual entitlement, and low sexual empathy) were negatively associated with both trajectories. The fourth facet (sexual skill) was positively associated with both trajectories. Notably, sexual satisfaction mediated the effect of every facet of sexual narcissism on marital satisfaction. A global assessment of narcissism was not associated with either trajectory of satisfaction. These findings highlight (1) the importance of narcissistic tendencies for sexual processes, (2) the benefits of using domain-specific measures of personality in research on sexual behavior, and (3) the importance of examining the implications of the specific facets of personality constructs.

Concepts: Psychology, Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior, Human behavior, Narcissistic personality disorder, Trajectory, Trajectory of a projectile, Narcissism


The narcissistic personality is characterized by grandiosity, entitlement, and low empathy. This paper describes the development and validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS). Although the use of longer instruments is superior in most circumstances, we recommend the SINS in some circumstances (e.g. under serious time constraints, online studies).

Concepts: Psychology, Personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Narcissism, Narcissistic parents, Superiority complex, Entitlement


Narcissistic individuals have highly positive self-views and overestimate their abilities. Consequently, they tend to react aggressively whenever they receive information that does not match their high self-views (ego-threat). We argue that focusing on aggression merely portrays a one-sided view of narcissistic individuals and the manner in which they counter ego-threats. We propose that following ego-threat, narcissism can also fuel performance.

Concepts: Aggression, Individualism, Narcissistic personality disorder, Narcissism


Despite the widely held belief that men are more narcissistic than women, there has been no systematic review to establish the magnitude, variability across measures and settings, and stability over time of this gender difference. Drawing on the biosocial approach to social role theory, a meta-analysis performed for Study 1 found that men tended to be more narcissistic than women (d = .26; k = 355 studies; N = 470,846). This gender difference remained stable in U.S. college student cohorts over time (from 1990 to 2013) and across different age groups. Study 1 also investigated gender differences in three facets of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) to reveal that the narcissism gender difference is driven by the Exploitative/Entitlement facet (d = .29; k = 44 studies; N = 44,108) and Leadership/Authority facet (d = .20; k = 40 studies; N = 44,739); whereas the gender difference in Grandiose/Exhibitionism (d = .04; k = 39 studies; N = 42,460) was much smaller. We further investigated a less-studied form of narcissism called vulnerable narcissism-which is marked by low self-esteem, neuroticism, and introversion-to find that (in contrast to the more commonly studied form of narcissism found in the DSM and the NPI) men and women did not differ on vulnerable narcissism (d = -.04; k = 42 studies; N = 46,735). Study 2 used item response theory to rule out the possibility that measurement bias accounts for observed gender differences in the three facets of the NPI (N = 19,001). Results revealed that observed gender differences were not explained by measurement bias and thus can be interpreted as true sex differences. Discussion focuses on the implications for the biosocial construction model of gender differences, for the etiology of narcissism, for clinical applications, and for the role of narcissism in helping to explain gender differences in leadership and aggressive behavior. Readers are warned against overapplying small effect sizes to perpetuate gender stereotypes. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Sexual dimorphism, Gender, Gender role, Gender identity, Narcissistic personality disorder, Gender differences, Narcissism, Biology of gender


Americans may be more narcissistic now than ever, but narcissism is not evenly distributed across social strata. Five studies demonstrated that higher social class is associated with increased entitlement and narcissism. Upper-class individuals reported greater psychological entitlement (Studies 1a, 1b, and 2) and narcissistic personality tendencies (Study 2), and they were more likely to behave in a narcissistic fashion by opting to look at themselves in a mirror (Study 3). Finally, inducing egalitarian values in upper-class participants decreased their narcissism to a level on par with their lower-class peers (Study 4). These findings offer novel evidence regarding the influence of social class on the self and highlight the importance of social stratification to understanding basic psychological processes.

Concepts: Sociology, Narcissistic personality disorder, Social class, Narcissism, Social stratification, Social mobility, Working class, Max Weber


Social media has become an increasingly popular leisure activity over the last decade. Although most people’s social media use is non-problematic, a small number of users appear to engage in social media excessively and/or compulsively. The main objective of this study was to examine the associations between addictive use of social media, narcissism, and self-esteem. A cross-sectional convenient sample of 23,532 Norwegians (Mage=35.8years; range=16-88years) completed an open web-based survey including the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory-16, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Results demonstrated that lower age, being a woman, not being in a relationship, being a student, lower education, lower income, lower self-esteem, and narcissism were associated with higher scores on the BSMAS, explaining a total of 17.5% of the variance. Although most effect sizes were relatively modest, the findings supported the notion of addictive social media use reflecting a need to feed the ego (i.e., narcissistic personality traits) and an attempt to inhibit a negative self-evaluation (i.e., self-esteem). The results were also consistent with demographic predictions and associations taken from central theories concerning “addiction”, indicating that women may tend to develop more addictive use of activities involving social interaction than men. However, the cross-sectional study design makes inferences about directionality impossible.

Concepts: Scientific method, Cross-sectional study, Sociology, Woman, Antisocial personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Narcissism, Narcissistic parents