Narcissistic Qualities and Infidelity

  • James K. McNultyEmail author
  • Laura Widman


There are various theoretical reasons to expect narcissistic qualities to predict own and partner infidelity. Nevertheless, as we review here, research has been inconsistent in documenting such links, with some studies providing evidence suggesting a link between narcissism and infidelity and other studies failing to document significant associations. As we also review, subsequent research has documented more consistent links between narcissistic qualities and infidelity using a measure of sexual narcissism that assesses the extent to which narcissistic qualities are activated by the sexual domain. These latter findings suggest that the inconsistent associations that emerge using global assessments of narcissism may emerge because such assessments are too coarse and thus fail to capture important nuance important to the link between narcissistic qualities and infidelity. Future research may clarify such links even further by examining the role of partner narcissism, the facets of narcissism, the specific mechanisms through which such links emerge, and the various moderators of these links.


Grandiose narcissism Infidelity Sexual narcissism Sexuality Relationship maintenance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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