Sex differences in narcissism: expression of and relationships with the exploitativeness/entitlement factor

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashton Caroline Southard (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Millicent Abel

Abstract: The exploitativeness/entitlement factor of narcissism has been characterized as representing maladaptive characteristics such as anxiety (Watson & Biderman, 1993), suspiciousness, lack of empathy (Emmons, 1984), and hostility toward others (Ruiz, Smith, & Rhodewalt, 2001). The hypersensitivity aspect of covert narcissism has also been associated with exploitativeness/entitlement (Ryan et al., 2008). Interestingly, exploitativeness/entitlement has been found to relate to measures of aggression in women only (Emmons, 1984; Ryan et al., 2008). Given that exploitativeness/entitlement is associated with tendencies toward manipulation of others (Emmons, 1984), one focus of this study was to examine how the factor relates to different types of influence tactics. Further, research suggests that men and women may differ in their outward expressions of narcissism (Mort & Rhodewalt, 2001), thus, possible sex differences were also investigated. Jealousy has been a topic of much research and examined as separate cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dimensions, with cognitive jealousy reflecting jealous and suspicious thoughts, emotional jealousy reflecting negative feelings due to a partner’s infidelity, and behavioral jealousy reflecting jealous actions and behaviors such as going through a partner’s personal belongings (Pfeiffer & Wong, 1989). Given the maladaptive nature associated with exploitativeness/entitlement, it is possible this factor relates to the three dimensions of jealousy. To date, no research has examined how the exploitativeness/entitlement factor of narcissism relates to the three dimensions of jealousy.The current study thus explored relationships between the exploitativeness/entitlement factor of narcissism and hypersensitivity to threat, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral jealousy, as well as tendencies toward aggression and influence tactics; further, possible sex differences in these relationships were examined. A convenience sample of college students (N = 120) gave informed consent and subsequently completed a packet of questionnaires which included the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979), the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (HSNS; Hendin & Cheek, 1997), the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (AQ; Buss & Perry, 1992), the Multidimensional Jealousy Scale (Pfeiffer & Wong, 1989) which evaluates cognitive, emotional, and behavioral jealousy, as well as six categories of influence tactics taken from Howard et al. (1986) which included manipulation, supplication, bullying, autocracy, disengagement, and bargaining. Results supported previous findings suggesting that men and women may differ in their expressions of narcissism in that, while exploitativeness/entitlement was associated with the influence tactic autocracy in both men and women, sex differences emerged in that exploitativeness/entitlement in men was also related to the influence tactics of manipulation, disengagement, and bargaining, whereas women’s exploitativeness/entitlement was also related to the influence tactics of supplication and bullying. These results also support previous research suggesting that women’s exploitativeness/entitlement may be related to more coercive types of influence tactics (Ryan et al., 2008). Further, relationships were found between women’s exploitativeness/entitlement and overall aggression, as well as the specific aggression subfactors of anger and physical aggression, supporting previous research revealing a relationship between exploitativeness/entitlement and aggression measures in women (Emmons, 1984; Ryan et al., 2008). The current results revealed a relationship between women’s hypersensitivity and exploitativeness/entitlement, as well as the influence tactics of supplication, bullying, and disengagement. However no relationships were found between hypersensitivity and exploitativeness/entitlement or any influence tactic in men. These findings may indicate that exploitativeness/entitlement and hypersensitivity are more a factor in preference for specific influence tactics in women than in men. Regarding jealousy, results revealed that aggression was a significant predictor in both men and women of cognitive, as well as behavioral jealousy. This finding may indicate that aggression plays a central role in jealous thoughts as well as the tendency to act on those thoughts. Exploitativeness/entitlement was found to predict emotional and cognitive jealousy in women; in contrast, exploitativeness/entitlement failed to significantly predict any dimension of men’s jealousy. This finding may indicate that exploitativeness/entitlement is more of a component of jealous thoughts and feelings in women, while less central to jealousy in men. Further, hypersensitivity, along with aggression, was found to predict men’s behavioral jealousy, which may indicate that, for men, hypersensitivity to threat, as well as tendencies toward aggression are central to their jealous actions and behaviors. Examinations of overall levels of exploitativeness/entitlement, hypersensitivity, aggression, dimensions of jealousy, and the six influence tactics revealed minimal differences between men and women; however, the current study does suggest that, although overall levels of these characteristics and tendencies may not differ between men and women, differences may exist in how they relate to each other. The current study was limited in several ways including the low reliability of the exploitativeness/entitlement subscale of the NPI, and the inability to account for sexual orientation and gender role orientation. Future research should examine the possible effects of gender role and sexual orientation in the relationships between jealousy, influence tactics, maladaptive narcissism, aggression, and hypersensitivity. Future studies should also continue to examine the role of hypersensitivity in men’s and women’s aggressive tendencies, as well as dimensions of jealousy. Further, research should focus on developing a more valid and reliable measure of the negative and maladaptive aspects of narcissism.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Aggression, Hypersensitivity, Influence Tactics, Jealousy, Narcissism, Sex Differences
Narcissism -- Sex differences
Jealousy -- Sex differences

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