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Age and gender differences in narcissism: A comprehensive study across eight measures and over 250,000 participants


Abstract

Age and gender differences in narcissism have been studied often. However, considering the rich history of narcissism research accompanied by its diverging conceptualizations, little is known about age and gender differences across various narcissism measures. The present study investigated age and gender differences and their interactions across eight widely used narcissism instruments (i.e., Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale, Dirty Dozen, Psychological Entitlement Scale, Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version IV, Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire-Short Form, Single-Item Narcissism Scale, and brief version of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory). The findings of Study 1 (N = 5,736) revealed heterogeneity in how strongly the measures are correlated. Some instruments loaded clearly on one of the three factors proposed by previous research (i.e., Neuroticism, Extraversion, Antagonism), while others cross-loaded across factors and in distinct ways. Cross-sectional analyses using each measure and meta-analytic results across all measures (Study 2) with a total sample of 270,029 participants suggest consistent linear age effects (random effects meta-analytic effect of r = -.104), with narcissism being highest in young adulthood. Consistent gender differences also emerged (random effects meta-analytic effect was -.079), such that men scored higher in narcissism than women. Quadratic age effects and Age × Gender effects were generally very small and inconsistent. We conclude that despite the various conceptualizations of narcissism, age and gender differences are generalizable across the eight measures used in the present study. However, their size varied based on the instrument used. We discuss the sources of this heterogeneity and the potential mechanisms for age and gender differences.

Abstract

Age and gender differences in narcissism have been studied often. However, considering the rich history of narcissism research accompanied by its diverging conceptualizations, little is known about age and gender differences across various narcissism measures. The present study investigated age and gender differences and their interactions across eight widely used narcissism instruments (i.e., Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale, Dirty Dozen, Psychological Entitlement Scale, Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version IV, Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire-Short Form, Single-Item Narcissism Scale, and brief version of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory). The findings of Study 1 (N = 5,736) revealed heterogeneity in how strongly the measures are correlated. Some instruments loaded clearly on one of the three factors proposed by previous research (i.e., Neuroticism, Extraversion, Antagonism), while others cross-loaded across factors and in distinct ways. Cross-sectional analyses using each measure and meta-analytic results across all measures (Study 2) with a total sample of 270,029 participants suggest consistent linear age effects (random effects meta-analytic effect of r = -.104), with narcissism being highest in young adulthood. Consistent gender differences also emerged (random effects meta-analytic effect was -.079), such that men scored higher in narcissism than women. Quadratic age effects and Age × Gender effects were generally very small and inconsistent. We conclude that despite the various conceptualizations of narcissism, age and gender differences are generalizable across the eight measures used in the present study. However, their size varied based on the instrument used. We discuss the sources of this heterogeneity and the potential mechanisms for age and gender differences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:narcissism; age differences; assessment; adult development; cohort differences
Language:English
Date:1 June 2023
Deposited On:15 Jan 2024 16:18
Last Modified:31 Mar 2024 01:37
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0022-3514
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000463
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversity of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Fund
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  • : FunderUniversity of Pittsburgh
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  • : FunderHeterodox Academy
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