Narcissism and the Economic Environment

  • Emily C. BianchiEmail author


While much is known about the consequences of narcissism, relatively little is known about the conditions that foster or temper the development of an inflated ego. This chapter reviews evidence suggesting that entering adulthood during bad economic times is associated with lower narcissism in later adulthood. The author draws on two lines of research to make this prediction. First, past work suggests that narcissism is tempered by adverse experiences and failure. Given that young people who begin their adult lives in challenging economic times often have considerable difficulty establishing their professional and personal lives, the author suggests that they are less likely to develop an overinflated sense of self. Second, economic downturns are associated with greater interdependence and less individualism. Past work has shown that people are often influenced by the macro-environmental conditions and norms of their early adulthood. Thus, the author proposes that greater interdependence during one’s “impressionable years” is likely to yield less narcissism later in life. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Recessions Economic downturns Impressionable years Generational imprinting Grandiose narcissism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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