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Title: Determinants of Different Facets of Narcissism and Their Linkage with Empathy
Authors: Virk, Puneet
Supervisor: Kumari, Santha
Keywords: adaptive narcissism;maladaptive narcissism;mindfulness;emotional disconnection;insecure attachment; cognitive empathy; adaptive narcissism; maladaptive narcissism; emotional contagion;;delayed gratification
Issue Date: 18-Jan-2024
Abstract: Narcissism has increased in incidence as well as intensity over time. This can prove very dangerous as it can result in the development of a society where individualism and intensive self-focus is the rule. Narcissism has mostly been studied as a single construct but some researchers have tried to distinguish the adaptive and maladaptive forms of narcissism. This rapid rate of growth of narcissism is comparatively higher when it comes to maladaptive narcissism which is related to traits like neuroticism, depression, aggression, impulsive buying, delinquency, low self-esteem, inconsistency in the actual self versus the ideal self, anxiety, low empathy, high work stress, and burnout however, adaptive narcissism, which includes leadership/ authority and self-sufficiency, tends to imply the opposite or no relationships with these traits. Therefore, of the two different kinds of grandiose narcissism, maladaptive narcissism is the problematic type since it affects narcissists' well-being and their interpersonal interactions. Therefore, this motivated us to study the two distinct forms of narcissism considering their origin, how they relate to other characteristics, and how to prevent or control them. The participants in our study were 300 randomly selected student volunteers (150 males and 150 females) from universities in Punjab, India. They came from various regions of India and their ages ranged between 20 and 27 years (M = 21.71, SD = 1.46). The sample consisted of 75 males and 75 females per university and included students from bachelor's and master's courses. We applied the structural equation modeling technique and established that insecure attachment and delayed gratification significantly predicted adaptive and maladaptive narcissism. Perspective taking was observed as a mediator between adaptive narcissism and empathy (cognitive empathy and emotional contagion). Mindfulness was also established as a mediator between adaptive as well as maladaptive narcissism and the three forms of empathy (emotional disconnection, cognitive empathy and emotional contagion). To assess these traits, apart from standardized self-report measures, some behavioral experiments and projective measures were also used to supplement our results. Our study has practical implications for managers of institutions who can introduce exercises in mindfulness meditation and perspective taking for their employees. Parents and caregivers, as well as school and university teachers can also extend these practices to their wards, and students. Future generations can benefit the most from our study if parents can help nip narcissism in the bud by making their children feel safe and loved so that they can develop secure attachment
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