Examining the Relations Among Narcissism, Impulsivity, and Self-Defeating Behaviors


  • This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health research grant MH067827 to A.S.G. Data for Study 2 were collected as part of the Georgia Personality Addiction Affect and Decision-making (G-PAAD) study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Joshua D. Miller, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013. E-mail: jdmiller@uga.edu.


ABSTRACT A recent meta-analysis (S. Vazire & D. C. Funder, 2006) suggested that narcissism and impulsivity are related and that impulsivity partially accounts for the relation between narcissism and self-defeating behaviors (SDB). This research examines these hypotheses in two studies and tests a competing hypothesis that Extraversion and Agreeableness account for this relation. In Study 1, we examined the relations among narcissism, impulsivity, and aggression. Both narcissism and impulsivity predicted aggression, but impulsivity did not mediate the narcissism–aggression relation. In Study 2, narcissism was related to a measure of SDB and manifested divergent relations with a range of impulsivity traits from three measures. None of the impulsivity models accounted for the narcissism–SDB relation, although there were unique mediating paths for traits related to sensation and fun seeking. The domains of Extraversion and low Agreeableness successfully mediated the entire narcissism–SDB relation. We address the discrepancy between the current and meta-analytic findings.