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Narcissism: More Stressful for Men Than Women

Think the world revolves around you? If you're a guy, your narcissism is really stressing you out.

By Kristin Wong Mar 27, 2012 2:07PM

Photo: momentimages/Tetra images/Getty ImagesIn a study published in the publication PLoS ONE, researchers gave 106 undergrads a Narcissistic Personality Inventory, in which they chose from either narcissistic responses or non-narcissistic ones. Researchers also tested the subjects' "passive drool," better known as saliva, to measure their level of cortisol — the stress hormone.

The researchers broke down the responses into unhealthy narcissism — which was characterized by "entitlement" and "exploitativeness" — and healthy narcissism, which they associated with qualities like leadership and self-sufficiency.

Turns out, the men who exhibited unhealthy narcissism in the Inventory had higher cortisol levels than non-narcissistic men. The women who chose unhealthy narcissistic responses also had higher levels of cortisol, but not nearly as much as the men.

Researchers then attempted to explain why men might me more stressed out by their own narcissism:

"Perhaps females can escape more severe physiological consequences of narcissism because there are different expectations for their roles in society."

They add that female gender roles encourage women to seek support, which could help lower their risk for chronic stress. But I guess that would mean women are less stressed overall, too.

The study's coauthor, Sara Konrath, adds that  " societal definitions of masculinity that overlap with narcissism — for example, the belief that men should be arrogant and dominant — men who endorse stereotypically male sex roles and who are also high in narcissism may feel especially stressed."

And that's not the only reason to check your ego at the door. The study also points out that high stress levels could lead to cardiovascular problems. So being an egomaniac might very well be hazardous to your health.

Mar 28, 2012 9:51AM
It seems like there is a lot of confusion here about what narcissism is ...

I have written about narcissism (the personality disorder version) full time for 5 years now after helping my husband recover from this disorder - so I guess I would not be getting too carried away with myself to claim I know a little about it!

Unhealthy narcissism and healthy narcissism are completely different and really shouldn't be compared side by side like this. Healthy narcissism is about having a good self image. Unhealthy narcissism refers to a personality disorder that has more to do with aggression and being exploitative than it does narcissism and (sorry Amanda) this disorder does look a lot like sociopathy. The only link I would say that there is between healthy and unhealthy narcissism is that  yes unhealthy narcissists do have a high regard for themselves - not their real self however but instead a fantasy version of them self that has little to do with the full reality of who they are. A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder actually despises themselves.  

Narcissists stressed out? Sure - that might come from trying to remember all their lies they tell and lengths they go to keeping their double life hidden. 

If you are interested in learning more on how to recognize and deal with this disorder please do a search for the Narcissism Daily Mirror. 

It may have been removed from the DSMV - but that won't make too much difference to you if you are living with someone with these symptoms. 
Mar 27, 2012 6:34PM
Brian Lind, you are confusing narcissism with... I'm not sure, you seem a little incoherent, but it seems like you're thinking of psychotic or sociopath personality disorder, and not narcissism. Your comment makes you sound a little psychotic so I'd call this one the pot calling the kettle black with your comment about pulling the trigger and all. Seek therapy, or at the least do some research about a subject before posting about it on news feeds and making yourself look completely ignorant.
Mar 27, 2012 6:02PM
knowing a sick narcssitic person you all love the drama,get off on thinking you are superior being or something????  don't care who you hurt even your kids!!! bringing them up like you,get some help sicko,pull the trigger!!! while you look in the mirror,see what falls out,no loss,nothing important there,one less a...... to screw up the world,hiding behind your kids when the police show up running in the closet,always a chase till you all get caught,and it is Coming!!     kids learn from the failures parents do as well as the success,if you don't hurt anyone getting to success you are a success,otherwise still a failure!!
Mar 27, 2012 5:43PM
There are those who walk and those who are walked upon! Choose your position!
Mar 27, 2012 5:36PM
I am the greatest! Iam the greatest!! I am the Greatest!!!!!
Mar 27, 2012 5:34PM
Narcissism isn't always a bad thing, it's totally subjective. Total confidence in your own ability to preform a task can be perceived as a form of narcissism, it doesn't mean it's a negative thing. In some cases narcissism can be an attractive quality.

And again sociopath doesn't = narcissist, stop confusing the two. Sociopaths have no concern for others, narcissists can be confident in themselves, and still care for others.
Mar 27, 2012 5:24PM

this is a very very important for  people to read we live in a  society with many narcisstic people and  those  people can make ones life a living hell i have a co worker and a neighbor like this and  u cannot win  with people who r sick but i have learned that those peoples lives are a hell, so stay positive and never engage with  sick people who exhibit selfish tendencies.

Mar 27, 2012 5:20PM

Truthhurts sounds like a whiney ****.  Maybe if you'd spend less time sitting by yourself feeling self-righteous and looking for ways to put other people down you would have more friends.  Not all people are narcissists, and just because people find you odd or don't want to be your friend does not make them a bad person.  In your case it might make them a wise choice of character.


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