Patterns of Relationship Behaviors among Narcissists

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The Ohio State University

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Most of the literature studying narcissism in romantic relationships focuses on grandiose narcissists, leaving little known about how communal and vulnerable narcissists behave and perceive their relationships. This study aimed to see how each facet of narcissism differs in relationships and how experiencing power might impact relationship behaviors. Study 1 assessed various relationship variables in terms of narcissism in two samples: one consisting of a predominately older, mostly married online sample, and the other consisting of mainly younger, casually dating undergraduate students. Study 1 found that communal narcissists reported a more positive perception of their relationships and endorsed more positive behaviors in their relationships such as less attention to alternatives, less negative behaviors in response to conflict, and more commitment than that of grandiose narcissists. Vulnerable narcissists’ patterns of relationship behaviors were similar to those of grandiose narcissists by reporting more attention to alternatives, more negative accommodation and less overall satisfaction. Study 2 examined the extent to which narcissists change their responses to their relationship behaviors when they are led to believe they have power. Study 2 found that power impacted perceived closeness and led to reports of more negative behaviors in dating relationships for both communal and vulnerable narcissists but found no changes in perceived behavior for grandiose narcissists.



Narcissism, Power, Romantic Relationships