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Narcissism has never been a widely appreciated trait, but a new study shows that it has more harmful repercussions than you think. According to research, those who like to self-obsess or self-congratulate themselves are more likely to suffer health problems like hypertension and heart disease.
Studying 106 male and female undergraduate students, University of Michigan psychologist Sara Konrath tried to find out what links narcissism to the stress hormone cortisol. Since previous studies have already found that cortisol levels tend to increase during threatening situations, Konrath wanted to find out the general effect of narcissism on the hormone and the degree to which the consequences escalate.
The volunteers were made to answer a 40-item questionnaire that measured their levels of narcissism. They were also measured for their cortisol levels. Upon analysis, researchers found out that there were different types of narcissism at play. Some were helpful for establishing leadership, while others were purely self-serving. Results revealed that those who belonged to the latter group showed higher levels of cortisol overall than their peers.
While the rise of cortisol levels can sometimes be helpful when a person is in grave danger, it can take a toll on your health, affecting the heart and blood vessels negatively. A person who is constantly narcissistic can’t help but place the body under unnecessary stress.
Long-term implications, at this point, are still not clear. However, it would be a good idea to rein in any narcissistic tendencies. Not only will it save you from having possible health problems in the future, but it might also make other people like you more.
For more on narcissism and physical appearances, check these out on FN:
For previous studies on heart disease, try these:
(Photo by Paul Watson via Flickr Creative Commons)