Narcissistic personality traits include a toxic combination of low emotional empathy and a high level of selfishness. Sooner or later in life, each of us will meet a narcissistic person. Since narcissists make up around 6,2% of our general population one might conclude that they have an enormous impact on our society. Their selfish and antisocial behavior makes cooperation and living together within a society more difficult. This behavior works against collective benefits, friendships, and trust.
Our everyday life in today’s society is charged by stressful situations and interpersonal problems that sometimes might make us less sociable and more selfish. One might wonder how narcissistic people cope with this kind of stress and whether they might already have a higher trait vulnerability to experience emotional stress (trait neuroticism) making them even more selfish.
In our current study, we, a group of second-year psychology students (group 28), tried to answer this question. A large number of second-year students completed a digital questionnaire package including questionnaires measuring their level and type of narcissism (grandiose vs. vulnerable), emotional stress-vulnerability (neuroticism), and their level of selfishness.
We expect that higher scores on narcissism (depending on the type) will predict higher scores on selfishness particularly when accounting for high scores on emotional stress vulnerability. Findings that would provide support for this hypothesis would lead to a better understanding of narcissism. This insight would help us to understand narcissist behavior in social contexts and their relationship with other people in their surroundings.