The Price Men Pay For Narcissism


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Narcissistic men are at risk for serious health problems: Photo by David Weekly

In the 1970s, Carly Simon had a hit song entitled, “You’re So Vain.” In it, she sang about how a man was so vain, that he believed everything revolved around him, including the song she was singing. While that song was a hit, it touched on a segment of the population that is narcissistic and feels above society. For these individuals, the costs of vanity can be staggering, both in finances and health.

Narcissism In Men

In a new study by Dr. Sara Konrath, of the University of Michigan, men who are narcissistic are more likely to experience health issues related to elevated cortisol issues. In her study, entitled “Expensive Egos: Narcissistic Males Have Higher Cortisol,” Dr. Konrath examined a group of 106 undergraduate students by using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and collecting saliva samples. The test subjects included 79 females and 27 males.

Once the samples were collected, Dr. Konrath examined them to evaluate the levels of cortisol. Decoded Science asked Dr. Konrath about the surprises found in the collected samples. She replied,

On the one hand, we expected that the higher cortisol would only apply to male narcissists because of prior research by Robin Edelstein and her colleagues that found something similar. But on the other hand, we are still a little bit surprised that being a narcissist is not associated with higher cortisol in females – it seems to have fewer potential health consequences, and we don’t really understand why at this point. 

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