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Keywords:

  • Narcissism;
  • Personality;
  • Stress;
  • Skin conductance response;
  • Preejection period;
  • Cardiovascular reactivity

Two dimensions of narcissism were related to psychophysiological responses to stress in 50 young women. Cardiovascular, electrodermal, task performance, and stress appraisal measures were recorded during rest, mental arithmetic, and a computerized Thematic Apperception Test (Murray, 1943). The Egocentricity and Alienation scales of the Bell Object Relations and Reality Testing Inventory (Bell, 1995) served as measures of overt/inflated and covert/deflated narcissism. Egocentricity correlated consistently with heightened preejection period reactivity, whereas Alienation correlated consistently with diminished electrodermal reactivity (all p < .05). Multivariate analyses supported specific relationships between Egocentricity and preejection period hyperreactivity, and between Alienation and electrodermal hyporeactivity. These results have implications for narcissism, cardiovascular disease risk, and a variety of psychiatric disorders.