Risk Factor or Protective Feature? The Roles of Grandiose and Hypersensitive Narcissism in Explaining the Relationship between Self-Objectification and Body Image Concerns
People who self-objectify perceive their bodies as objects which exist for the pleasure of others. Personality traits are important factors that might moderate the pathway between self-objectification and body image concerns. In the present paper, we explore if narcissism moderates this relationship, and we do so by exploring the facets of grandiose narcissism (associated with an inflated sense of self-importance) and hypersensitive narcissism (a more defensive and insecure narcissism). A convenience sample of 277 young Australian women (Mage = 21.34 years, SD = 3.25, range = 18–30) completed an online battery comprising measures of self-objectification, subclinical grandiose and hypersensitive narcissism, and measures designed to capture concerns related to body image. We found that hypersensitive narcissism, but not grandiose narcissism, predicted higher levels of self-objectification. Grandiose narcissism scores predicted lower levels of body shame and less weight discrepancy, indicating more positive body image, and also moderated the relationship between self-objectification and body shame (i.e., women who report lower levels of narcissism are more vulnerable to body shame associated with self-objectification). In contrast, hypersensitive narcissism scores predicted higher levels of both body shame and discrepancies in actual-ideal weight. These findings suggest that grandiose narcissism may have a protective relationship regarding body image in this population, whereas hypersensitive narcissism may be a risk factor.
KeywordsBody image Objectification Self-objectification Narcissism Grandiose narcissism Hypersensitive narcissism Sexualization
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The protocol for this study was reviewed by the human research ethics committee at Australian Catholic University: 2016-264E.
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