This shows two women.
However, the study also unveils the downsides of these traits at a societal scale, including reduced sleep durations and an elevated demand for plastic surgery. Credit: Neuroscience News

Less Obesity and Depression in NPD Individuals

Summary: A comprehensive study across 38 states in the U.S. has revealed a surprising link between narcissism and positive health outcomes, including lower obesity and depression rates. States with higher levels of narcissism also showed a lower likelihood of heart failure and hypertension deaths, highlighting the complex role of narcissistic traits in public health.

However, these states also experienced less sleep and a higher demand for plastic surgeons, suggesting a nuanced interplay between narcissism’s adaptive and maladaptive aspects. This groundbreaking research underscores the importance of considering psychological traits in public health strategies and interventions.

Key Facts:

  1. Lower Obesity and Depression Rates: States with higher narcissism levels have significantly lower rates of obesity and depression, suggesting adaptive aspects of narcissism can contribute to healthier lifestyles.
  2. Reduced Heart Failure and Hypertension Deaths: These states also see fewer deaths from heart failure and hypertension, indicating a potential protective effect of narcissistic traits on some serious health outcomes.
  3. Increased Demand for Plastic Surgeons and Less Sleep: Higher narcissism correlates with a greater demand for cosmetic procedures and reduced sleep duration, reflecting the trait’s double-edged nature on health behaviors.

Source: Neuroscience News

The exploration of narcissism’s association with state-level health outcomes across the United States reveals a fascinating paradox within the realm of public health and personality psychology.

This extensive study, drawing on data from over 4,000 individuals in 38 states, transcends the traditional confines of individual behavior to uncover the broader societal implications of the dark triad traits, particularly narcissism.

Credit: Neuroscience News

It challenges the pervasive narrative that narcissism is solely detrimental, highlighting instead its complex dual nature—wherein lies a potential ally for public health.

Narcissism: A Double-Edged Sword

Narcissism, part of the dark triad of personality traits alongside Machiavellianism and psychopathy, is typically characterized by grandiosity, entitlement, and a preoccupation with self-image. However, this study sheds light on its less recognized facet: the adaptive qualities that can foster resilience, ambition, and an enhanced focus on personal health.

The findings intriguingly suggest that these adaptive aspects may lead to healthier lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise, dietary mindfulness, and engagement with preventive healthcare measures.

Societal Reflections of Narcissistic Traits

At a societal level, the study reveals that states with higher levels of narcissism exhibit lower rates of obesity and depression, alongside reduced mortality from heart failure and hypertension.

This correlation suggests that the positive health behaviors adopted by narcissistic individuals could aggregate to influence broader health trends within populations. Such a pattern points towards the potential of harnessing narcissism’s adaptive aspects for public health benefits.

However, the study also unveils the downsides of these traits at a societal scale, including reduced sleep durations and an elevated demand for plastic surgery.

These findings hint at the societal pressures and possibly unhealthy standards of beauty that might be more prevalent in areas with higher narcissistic tendencies.

It underscores the importance of a balanced view of narcissism, recognizing both its potential to motivate healthful behaviors and its capacity to drive less beneficial outcomes, such as sleep deprivation and an obsession with physical appearance.

Implications for Public Health Policies and Interventions

The nuanced understanding of narcissism’s impact on health outcomes has profound implications for public health policies and interventions.

Recognizing the dual nature of narcissism can inform the development of more targeted health promotion strategies that leverage its adaptive qualities while mitigating its maladaptive aspects.

For instance, public health campaigns could emphasize self-enhancement and confidence as motivators for healthy living, while also addressing the potential pitfalls of excessive self-focus and appearance-based self-esteem.

Moreover, this study highlights the importance of psychological traits in shaping health behaviors and outcomes at a population level.

It suggests that public health strategies could benefit from considering the psychological makeup of target populations, tailoring interventions to not only address physical health needs but also the underlying personality factors that influence behavior.

A Call for Further Research

While this study provides valuable insights into the relationship between narcissism and health outcomes, it also opens the door for further research.

Future studies could explore the mechanisms through which narcissism influences health behaviors and outcomes, and how these may vary across different contexts and populations.

Additionally, research could examine the interactions between narcissism and other psychological and social factors, offering a more comprehensive understanding of its role in public health.


This groundbreaking study challenges conventional views of narcissism, revealing its complex relationship with health at both individual and societal levels. By illuminating the adaptive aspects of narcissism that can contribute to positive health outcomes, it invites a reevaluation of how we understand and leverage personality traits in public health.

As we move forward, this research not only broadens our understanding of the interplay between psychology and health but also offers a promising avenue for developing more nuanced and effective public health strategies.

About this NPD and psychology research news

Author: Neuroscience News Communications
Source: Neuroscience News
Contact: Neuroscience News Communications – Neuroscience News
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the healthiest of them all – The surprising role of narcissism in state-level health outcomes” by Dritjon Gruda et al. Journal of Research in Personality


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the healthiest of them all – The surprising role of narcissism in state-level health outcomes

This study investigates narcissism’s role in state-level health outcomes across the U.S. While often seen as maladaptive, narcissism’s adaptive aspects, like self-enhancement, might promote better health.

Analyzing data from 4,230 participants in 38 states, we explore the link between dark triad traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) and health outcomes.

States with higher narcissism had lower obesity and depression rates, and a lower likelihood of heart failure and hypertension deaths. However, these states reported less sleep and higher demand for plastic surgeons.

This study is the first to provide a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between dark triad traits and health on the state level, with significant implications for public health policies and interventions.

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