The “growing” rate of narcissism in society could be linked with better school achievement, researchers have said.
Dr Kostas Papageorgiou, director of the InteRRaCt lab in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, discovered that adolescents who score high on certain aspects of narcissism may be more mentally tough and can perform better at school.
Dr Papageorgiou explained: “Narcissism is considered as a socially malevolent trait and it is part of the dark triad of personality traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.
“Previous studies indicate that narcissism is a growing trend in our society but this does not necessarily mean that an individual who displays high narcissistic qualities has a personality disorder.
“In our research, we focused on subclinical or ‘normal’ narcissism. Subclinical narcissism includes some of the same features of clinical syndrome – grandiosity, entitlement, dominance and superiority.”
The findings are the result of an international collaboration which included Professor Yulia Kovas, director of InLab at Goldsmiths University of London; as well as leading experts from King’s College London, Manchester Metropolitan University, Huddersfield University and the University of Texas at Austin, US.
Dr Papageorgiou added: Adolescents who score high on certain aspects of narcissism may be more mentally tough and that you deserve reward.
“Being confident in your own abilities is one of the key signs of grandiose narcissism and is also at the core of mental toughness.
“If a person is mentally tough, they are likely to embrace challenges and see these as an opportunity for personal growth.”
Dr Papageorgiou’s research suggests that in some ways, narcissism might actually be a positive attribute.
He added: “People who score high on subclinical narcissism may be at an advantage because their heightened sense of self-worth may mean they are more motivated, assertive and successful in certain contexts.
“Previous research in our lab has shown that subclinical narcissism may increase mental toughness. If an individual scores high on mental toughness, this means they can perform at their very best in pressured and diverse situations.”