The Positive Side of Narcissism: It May Protect from Depression

Researchers from the Queen's University Belfast have found that people who have grandiose narcissistic traits were more likely to be "mentally tough", feel less stressed and also less vulnerable to depression.

While narcissism may be viewed by many in society as a negative personality trait, the researchers have revealed that it could also have benefits, according to the study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

"Narcissism is part of the 'Dark Tetrad' of personality that also includes Machiavellianism, Psychopathy and Sadism. There are two main dimensions to narcissism - grandiose and vulnerable," said study researcher Kostas Papageorgiou.

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"Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the behaviour of others as hostile whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an over inflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power."

According to the researchers, individuals high on the spectrum of dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behaviour, hold an unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt.

The papers include three independent studies each involving more than 700 adults in total and highlights some positive sides of narcissism, such as resilience against symptoms of psychopathology.

A key finding of the research was that grandiose narcissism can increase mental toughness and this can help to offset symptoms of depression.

It also found that people who score high on grandiose narcissism have lower levels of perceived stress and are therefore less likely to view their life as stressful.

"The results from all the studies that we conducted show that grandiose narcissism correlates with very positive components of mental toughness, such as confidence and goal orientation, protecting against symptoms of depression and perceived stress," Papageorgiou said.

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