Self-obsessed adolescents achieve more in school

Believe it or not, adolescents who are self-obsessed perform better at school, this is a new research from the Queen’s University, Belfast. The more a person is obsessed with herself/himself, the more they’ll be successful in school and will achieve more.

Researcher Kostas Papageorgiou and colleagues had discovered that adolescents who score high on certain aspects of subclinical narcissism may be more mentally tough and can perform better at school.

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In the study, 340 adolescent students, taking part in the Multi-Cohort Investigation into Learning and Educational Success study (MILES), were recruited from three different Italian high schools in the Milan Province. They took part in two assessment waves.

Papageorgiou explained, “Narcissism is considered as a socially malevolent trait and it is part of the Dark Triad of personality traits – narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. “Previous studies indicate that narcissism is a growing trend in our society but this does not necessarily mean that an individual who displays high narcissistic qualities has a personality disorder. In our research, we focused on subclinical or “normal” narcissism.

Subclinical narcissism includes some of the same features of the clinical syndrome – grandiosity, entitlement, dominance, and superiority. “If you are a narcissist you believe strongly that you are better than anyone else and that you deserve a reward. Being confident in your own abilities is one of the key signs of grandiose narcissism and is also at the core of mental toughness. If a person is mentally tough, they are likely to embrace challenges and see these as an opportunity for personal growth.”

The research suggested that in some ways, narcissism might actually be a positive attribute. He added, “People who score high on subclinical narcissism may be at an advantage because their heightened sense of self-worth may mean they are more motivated, assertive, and successful in certain contexts.

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“Previous research in our lab has shown that subclinical narcissism may increase mental toughness. If individual scores high on mental toughness this means they can perform at their very best in pressured and diverse situations.” The research suggested that the relationship between narcissism and mental toughness could be one of the personality mechanisms that lead to variation in school achievement. However, at this stage, the findings have mainly theoretical rather than applied implications. The study findings are published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.


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