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Dealing with Male Arrogance

By on February 2, 2012

If you ask many women, they will tell you they know a guy who thinks “highly” of himself. In fact, we all do, right? But now there’s proof that narcissism is more prevalent among men than women and can have an especially negative effect on the health of men.

Psychologist, Sara Konrath from the University of Michigan; David Reinhard of the University of Virginia; and William Lopez and Heather Cameron of the University of Michigan said their earlier research found the level of narcissism — an inflated sense of self-importance, overestimation of uniqueness and a sense of grandiosity — is rising in American culture.

The researchers examined the role of narcissism and sex on the stress hormone cortisol in a sample of 106 undergraduate students. Cortisol, measured through saliva samples, is a widely used marker of physiological stress.

To assess participants’ narcissism, the researchers administered a 40-item narcissism questionnaire that measures five different components of the personality trait. Two of the components are more maladaptive, or unhealthy — exploitativeness and entitlement. The other three are more adaptive, or healthy — leadership/authority, superiority/arrogance, and self-absorption/self-admiration.

So while being confident is a personal quality that can take men far in life, personally and professionally. Crossing the fine line into arrogance can turn off people and also impact your social connections and outlook.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, found the most toxic aspects of narcissism were indeed associated with higher cortisol in male participants, but not in females. In fact, unhealthy narcissism was more than twice as large a predictor of cortisol in males as in females.

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