Narcissism and Spirituality: Intersections of Self, Superiority, and the Search for the Sacred

  • Joshua B. GrubbsEmail author
  • Nicholas Stauner
  • Joshua A. Wilt
  • Julie J. Exline


Narcissism and narcissistic traits are known to affect various aspects of human functioning, with such traits often being associated with problematic outcomes in social, professional, and interpersonal domains. Another area in which narcissism seems to have some negative consequences is in spiritual functioning. Oftentimes, individuals, regardless of narcissistic traits, may experience difficulties in religious and spiritual functioning, known as religious and spiritual struggles. Although research in this domain is still burgeoning, recent research suggests that narcissism and narcissistic traits—especially trait entitlement—are associated with difficulties in religious and spiritual functioning such as religious and spiritual struggles. The present chapter reviews existing literature related to narcissism and religious and spiritual functioning, with a specific focus on how religious and spiritual struggles are associated with such traits. Links between narcissism and specific struggles (i.e., struggles with deity such as anger at God; interpersonal religious and spiritual struggles, such as conflicts over religion) are explored, and directions for future research are posited.


Spiritual struggle Religion Entitlement Anger at God Humility 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua B. Grubbs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicholas Stauner
    • 2
  • Joshua A. Wilt
    • 2
  • Julie J. Exline
    • 2
  1. 1.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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