Narcissistic Personality Disorder Contributes to Increased Cortisol Responses to Stressful Situations and Related Long Term Health Issues

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder contributes to increased cortisol responses to stressful situations and related long term health issues
Lori Steffen
National University

Abstract
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Malignant Narcissism affects approximately one percent of the population and seventy five percent of those afflicted are male. NPD is characterized by grandiosity, lack of empathy, fantasies of unlimited power or ideal love and a sense of entitlement. Many books have been written describing malignant narcissism and the damaging effects on people who find themselves in relationships with narcissists but scientists are just beginning to study the effects of malignant narcissism on the narcissist himself. Researchers at the University of Michigan, School of Psychology recently published findings that demonstrate that the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), the body’s primary stress response system is hyperactive in men diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and that this HPA hyperactivity can contribute to long term health complications. |

Malignant Narcissism is a personality disorder that affects approximately one percent of the population and seventy five percent of those afflicted are male. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a grandiose self-importance, a sense of entitlement and lack of empathy (Campbell, 2002). Many books have been written describing malignant narcissism and the damaging effects on people who find themselves in relationships with narcissists but scientists are just beginning to study the effects of malignant narcissism on the narcissist himself. Recent findings published in the Journal of Research in Personality describe a role for Malignant Narcissism in increased cortisol responses to stress thereby linking the personality disorder to long term health consequences for the first time.
Sigmund Freud was one of the first mental health professionals to describe



References: Dickerson, S. S., & Kemeny, M. E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research Raskin, R., & Terry, H. (1988). A principal-components analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and further evidence of its construct validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 890–902. Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 177–196. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070. Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.-M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘‘Trier Social Stress Test”: A tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting Rutledge, T. (2006). Defensive personality effects on cardiovascular health: A review of the evidence. In D. Johns (Ed.), Stress and its impact on society (pp. 1–21). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers. Campbell, W. K., Foster, C. A., & Finkel, E. J. (2002). Does self-love lead to love for others? A story of narcissistic game playing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 340–354.

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