The “why” and “how” of narcissism: A process model of narcissistic status pursuit

Stathis Grapsas*, Eddie Brummelman, Mitja D. Back, Jaap Denissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We propose a self-regulation model of grandiose narcissism. This model illustrates an interconnected set of processes through which narcissists (i.e., individuals with relatively high levels of grandiose narcissism) pursue social status in their moment-by-moment transactions with their environments. The model shows that narcissists select situations that afford status. Narcissists vigilantly attend to cues related to the status they and others have in these situations and, on the basis of these perceived cues, appraise whether they can elevate their status or reduce the status of others. Narcissists engage in self-promotion (admiration pathway) or other-derogation (rivalry pathway) in accordance with these appraisals. Each pathway has unique consequences for how narcissists are perceived by others, thus shaping their social status over time. The model demonstrates how narcissism manifests itself as a stable and consistent cluster of behaviors in pursuit of social status and how it develops and maintains itself over time. More broadly, the model might offer useful insights for future process models of other personality traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-172
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • narcissism
  • social status
  • motivation
  • self-regulation
  • PERSONALITY
  • LIFE-SPAN
  • THREATENED EGOTISM
  • 5-FACTOR MODEL
  • SOCIAL-DOMINANCE
  • ESTEEM
  • SELF-HATE LEAD
  • DARK TRIAD
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • APPROACH-AVOIDANCE

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