New research shows that a person’s individual level of narcissism affects whether they are more or less willing to participate in COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as masking and vaccination.

Researchers – including Peter Hatemi, a professor of political science at Penn State – looked at the effects of bothspectacularAnd “vulnerable” narcissism about whether people are more or less willing to wear a mask in public or get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hatemi explains that grandiose narcissism is characterized by a desire for social status and a desire for others to see them as important and admirable. Vulnerable narcissism, meanwhile, is associated with selfishness and egocentrism, or particularly sensitive to judgment.

After monitoring personal policy, risk perception, government policies and other important demographic data, the researchers found that participants with a higher degree of grandiose narcissism were less likely to wear a mask or get vaccinated. However, people who have chosen to wear a mask are also more likely to tell others to wear one.

Participants with more vulnerable narcissism are also less likely to wear a mask or get vaccinated if their personalities are also more self-centered and self-centered. However, they are more likely to participate in these mitigations if their personalities also make them more sensitive to feel condemned.

Researchers say the findings could be used to shape messages in the future.

“If you want to convince someone with great narcissism to wear a mask or take part in other mitigations, make this softening cool and unique to satisfy their need to stand out,” says Hatemi.

“For those who are too sensitive to judgment, you can tell them mitigation is socially sanctioned. Both of these strategies seem to touch these personalities more than emphasizing the greater good, for example. “

According to researchers, opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts designed to slow its progress are strongly divided in the United States. Previous research has found that conservatives are less likely to feel vulnerable to COVID-19 or that the virus is a serious threat and are more likely to believe that the media exaggerates the dangers and effects of the virus.

However, researchers suspected that politics alone could not explain people’s behavior and opinions about the pandemic, and that personality could also play a role.

“At a time when people were encouraged to wear a mask or get vaccinated to help not only ourselves but other people, there was a personality trait that stood out as a possible explanation for those who did not want to comply, “says Hatemi. “My co-author and I have been studying narcissism in other ways for a long time, and it seemed that it could be strongly associated with these types of behaviors.

For the study, researchers gathered information from a nationally representative sample of 1,100 adults in the United States in March 2021. They asked participants several questions about COVID-19. wearing a mask, as well as the behavior and attitude towards vaccines. Participants also completed assessments designed to measure the levels of narcissism in their personality. Finally, participants were asked how concerned they were personally about COVID-19.

Researchers say that while extreme narcissism can be diagnosed as a personality disorder, narcissism to a lesser extent is also an aspect of the personality of anyone who exists on continuum.

“We all have some level of grand and vulnerable narcissism,” Hatemi said. “It’s a natural part of everyone’s personality, because without it we wouldn’t be able to function properly.

“But this part of narcissism that we all have, it can easily be fueled by political messages and hijacked in these different stories that we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study appears in the journal Current psychology.

Zoltan Fazekas of the Copenhagen Business School is also involved.

Source: Penn State

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