Narcissism a personality trait marked by a magnified sense of self-importance, over exaggeration of uniqueness and a heightened sense of grandiosity.
Research has found that narcissism is a growing characteristic amongst many people particularly in America with many more men than women being regarded as vain, egotistic and narcissistic.
In a study conducted by psychologists at the University of Michigan, narcissism is correlated with increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Levels of cortisol were measured in saliva samples of 106 undergraduate students and were found to be higher in men who reported having more narcissistic characteristics on a questionnaire than women and those with reported being less self-absorbed or egotistical.
Increased cortisol levels has been reported to increase the risk of stress related physical and mental disorders such as high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia . Additionally narcissistic individuals are more likely to take defensive strategies including aggression and anger upon feeling their supremacy is questioned leading to greater strain on the body and potentially problems with social relationships.
This research therefore not only confirms that narcissism can influence health and social characteristics but also indicates how they may be less able to cope with stressful life events.
Simple techniques such as mindfulness meditation could help a narcissistic individual become less egotistic and subsequently healthier and better equipped to cope with stress and pressure in a neutral rather than defensive and aggressive manor.