Navigation Links
Narcissism Especially Bad for Men's Health, Study Says

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The inflated sense of self-importance common to narcissism can be toxic to relationships, but a new study suggests the personality trait may also harm men's health.

Researchers from the Universities of Michigan and Virginia determined that men who scored high on two destructive narcissistic traits -- entitlement and exploitativeness -- had markedly higher levels than others of cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. While men and women are equally narcissistic, study authors said, the cortisol stress response was not noted in female participants.

"We generally see narcissism as a personality trait that's bad for others but not narcissists. It's bad for people in relationships with them," said study co-author Sara Konrath, an assistant research professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. "This study was a way of getting under their skin to see if there are physical consequences."

The study is published Jan. 23 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Konrath and her colleagues administered a 40-item questionnaire to 106 college students that measured five components of narcissism, which is also characterized by self-absorption, overestimations of their uniqueness -- attractiveness or intelligence, for instance -- and a sense of grandiosity. They also measured cortisol levels twice in the students' saliva to assess baseline levels of the hormone, which signals activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), the body's key stress response system.

Three of narcissism's five personality components are considered useful or healthy: leadership/authority, superiority/arrogance and self-absorption/self-admiration. Konrath also noted that narcissists tend to be creative people with low levels of depression, but their fragile views of themselves can lead them to react defensively and resort to aggression when their sense of superiority is threatened.

The authors found elevated levels of cortisol only in the men with unhealthy narcissism, and they speculated that in these men the HPA axis is chronically activated.

While study data didn't explain why only men seem to suffer from a higher stress response to narcissism, Konrath speculated that societal definitions of masculinity that overlap with the trait -- such as arrogance or dominance -- may leave men particularly vulnerable physiologically.

"They're at especially high risk because someone who admits they're stressed out is going to get help, but they're not likely to," she said. "There may be a cost to this jerkiness. It's a little sad they're a group that wouldn't get help if they needed it."

While the study "invites people to look at this issue in a more comprehensive way," it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between narcissism and the body's stress response, said Dr. Mark Russ, director of psychiatric services at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

"People with narcissism may be type-A, very driven, perfectionistic and seek high-stress situations, and the cortisol levels may be measuring that," Russ said. "There may be an overlap."

Konrath said future research will focus on the reason women don't respond physiologically to narcissism as men apparently do. Narcissism levels have increased in both genders in recent years, she said, perhaps as a byproduct of the so-called "self-esteem movement," which emphasizes praise for children over criticism.

"It could be a change in the educational environment," she said. "I think it's nice we're trying to be thoughtful and careful of people's feelings, but we may err on the side of not being [constructive]."

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about the unhealthy aspects of narcissism.

SOURCES: Sara Konrath, Ph.D., assistant research professor, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Mark Russ, M.D., director, psychiatric services, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Jan. 23, 2012, PLoS ONE

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Group settings can diminish expressions of intelligence, especially among women
2. U of I study: Kindergarten friendships matter, especially for boys
3. Some Asthma Drugs Raise Risk of Complications, Especially in Kids: Study
4. Nursing home flu shots fall short, especially for blacks
5. Environment May Be Especially Key to Autism: Study
6. German E. Coli Strain Especially Lethal, Studies Find
7. Prostate Cancer Survival May Be Especially Tough on Gay Men
8. Disasters especially tough on people with disabilities, mental disorders
9. Moderate drinking, especially wine, associated with better cognitive function
10. Young children especially vulnerable to effects of 9/11
11. U.S. Minorities Especially Vulnerable to Kidney Failure
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Narcissism Especially Bad for Men's Health, Study Says
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... of the well-respected Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official ... independent group of Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Bangalore, Karnataka (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 ... ... the world, Health-E-minds, an innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, ... KleverKid. , This partnership will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. Patrick Coleman , ... Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital , co-hosted ... similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart damage and progressive ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the ... available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value and care based ... packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and special amenities such ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents ... Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, ... to 2020" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay Market ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with ... Administration (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to ... the first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA ... biosimilar pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 On ... first federal bellwether trial against Wright Medical Technology, ... to their Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant device, awarded ... Following a two week trial and three days ... metal-on-metal hip device was defectively designed and unreasonably ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: