The Narcissism Divide

By Off Main Street The Buffalo News, N.Y.

The University at Buffalo School of Management made news this week with a study concluding that men, on average, tend to be more narcissistic than women.

As polarizing as that sounds -- because narcissism tends to be a petty and not very pretty human characteristic -- the study insists that it's not a completely terrible trait.

"Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including an inability to maintain healthy long-term relationships, unethical behavior and aggression," said Emily Grijaiva, a Ph.D. and lead author of the study.

"At the same time, narcissism is shown to boost self-esteem, emotional stability and the tendency to emerge as a leader. By examining gender differences in narcissism, we may be able to explain gender disparities in these important outcomes," Grijaiva added.

The data for the study was culled over three decades from more than 475,000 participants.

The study found the widest gap between men and women was in a sense of entitlement, which, it said, suggests that "men are more likely than women to exploit others and feel entitled to certain privileges."

In any event, it is clear the study was not simply an exercise in, well, vanity.

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