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Abstract

Previous research has shown that individuals high in narcissism mistrust others, yet little is known about nar-cissism's relation to trust. In the current study (N = 727), we aim to close this gap in the literature by examining the relationship between facets of trust (i.e., cognitive bias in the evaluation of others and personal trust-worthiness) and facets of grandiose narcissism (i.e., agentic, antagonistic, and communal). We strive to answer the question whether narcissistic individuals believe that others are reliable, honest, and benevolent (how they perceive others) and whether they present themselves as trusting of others (how they perceive themselves). We posit and show that agentic narcissism is not related to any of the studied trust facets, suggesting that the concept of trust is not relevant to their self-image. In contrast, antagonistic narcissism is negatively related to perceiving others and oneself as trustful, and communal narcissism is positively related to these trust facets, purportedly due to communal self-enhancement. We discuss our findings of the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept as well as to the Agency-Communion model of grandiose narcissism.
Running head: NARCISSISM AND TRUST 1
Narcissism and trust:
Differential impact of agentic, antagonistic, and communal narcissism
Maria Magdalena Kwiatkowska
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland
mms.kwiatkowska@gmail.com
Tomasz Jułkowski
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
Radosław Rogoza
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
rogoza.radoslaw@gmail.com
Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
magdazemojtel@gmail.com
Ramzi Fatfouta
University of Potsdam
r.fatfouta@gmail.com
Author Note
The order of authors reflects their contribution to the paper. Correspondence concerning this paper should be
addressed to Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska, e-mail: magdazemojtel@gmail.com; postal address:
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Wóycickiego 1/3 Street, 01-938 Warsaw, Poland.
Please cite as: Kwiatkowska, M.M., Jułkowski, T., Rogoza, R., Żemojtel-Piotrowska, M.A., Fatfouta, R.
(2019). Narcissism and trust: Differential impact of agentic, antagonistic, and communal narcissism.
Personality and Individual Differences, 137, 139143. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.08.027
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 2
Acknowledgements
Funding: The work of Maria M. Kwiatkowska was supported by the research program for
young scientists and PhD students funded by the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in
Warsaw, Poland [project number: UmoBMF-14/18]. The work of Radosław Rogoza and
Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska was supported by National Science Centre, Poland [grant
number 2017/26/E/HS6/00282].
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 3
Highlights
Grandiose narcissism (GN) yields a differentiated pattern of relations with trust
In terms of trust, it is relevant to study GN broken down into facets
Relation to trust is null for agentic, neg. for antagonistic, pos. for communal GN
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 4
Abstract
Previous research has shown that individuals high in narcissism mistrust others, yet little is
known about narcissism’s relation to trust. In the current study (N = 727), we aim to close this
gap in the literature by examining the relationship between facets of trust (i.e., cognitive bias
in the evaluation of others and personal trustworthiness) and facets of grandiose narcissism
(i.e., agentic, antagonistic, and communal). We strive to answer the question whether
narcissistic individuals believe that others are reliable, honest, and benevolent (how they
perceive others) and whether they present themselves as trusting of others (how they perceive
themselves). We posit and show that agentic narcissism is not related to any of the studied trust
facets, suggesting that the concept of trust is not relevant to their self-image. In contrast,
antagonistic narcissism is negatively related to perceiving others and oneself as trustful, and
communal narcissism is positively related to these trust facets, purportedly due to communal
self-enhancement. We discuss our findings of the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept
as well as to the Agency-Communion model of grandiose narcissism.
Keywords: grandiose narcissism; trust; Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept;
Agency-Communion model of narcissism
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 5
1. Introduction
Trust can be defined as a willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of others (Mayer,
Davis, & Schoorman, 1995). The acceptance of one’s vulnerability seems to be antithetical to
narcissism (Miller, Lynam, Hyatt, & Campbell, 2017). Most of the previous studies examined
how narcissism is related to distrust (Kerr, Patton, Lapan, & Hills, 1994; Krizan & Johar,
2015) and not trust per se. Trust and distrust, however, are distinct constructs with
distinguishable characteristics and determinants (e.g., Lewicki, McAllister, & Bies, 1998).
While distrust refers to confident negative expectations regarding others’ behaviour (Lewicki
et al., 1998), trust refers to a general assumption about the good nature of others (Evans &
Revelle, 2008; Rotter, 1971). High distrust and low trust are distinct the former is
characterised by scepticism, defensiveness, and watchfulness, while the latter involves
passivity, hesitance, and lack of hope (Lewicki et al., 1998).
High levels of trust are related to many desirable social outcomes, like cooperation
(Balliet & Van Lange, 2013), relationship commitment (Righetti & Finkenauer, 2011),
organisational citizenship behaviours (Duffy & Lilly, 2013), or civic and political
engagement (Putnam, 1995). For this reason, examining the extent to which narcissism is
related to trust is important for better understanding the social functioning of narcissists. The
present paper adopts the distinction between three facets of grandiose narcissism: agentic,
antagonistic, and communal. We examine narcissism in relation to trust as measured both by
the general assumption about the positivity of human nature (Evans & Revelle, 2008;
Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994) and the general propensity to rely on others, which is
expressed in trustworthiness as an aspect of agreeableness (Soto & John, 2017). Such an
approach allows for a more in-depth understanding of the differential relations between
distinct facets of narcissism and trust, thereby allowing us to integrate studies on grandiose
narcissism and trust from both social and personality psychology perspective.
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 6
1.1. Three facets of grandiose narcissism
Within the literature, at least two theoretical models of grandiose narcissism can be
distinguished, that is, the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept (NARC; Back et al.,
2013) and the Agency-Communion (A-C) model of narcissism (Gebauer, Sedikides,
Verplanken, & Maio, 2012). Together, they define grandiose narcissism as a construct
containing three facets: agentic, antagonistic, and communal. The agentic facet of narcissism
is depicted within the NARC (Back et al., 2013) as narcissistic admiration and reflects the
assertive features of narcissistic personality, such as fantasies of grandiosity, uniqueness, and
charmingness (Back et al., 2013; Rogoza, Żemojtel-Piotrowska, Rogoza, Piotrowski, &
Wyszyńska, 2016). The antagonistic facet of narcissism is also depicted within the NARC as
narcissistic rivalry and encompasses the malignant features of narcissistic personality, such
as aggressiveness, hostility, and other-derogation (Back et al., 2013; Leckelt, Küfner, Nestler,
& Back, 2015).
1
Finally, the communal facet of narcissism is only expressed in the A-C
model of narcissism as communal narcissism, which emphasizes that narcissists fulfill their
core self-motives (e.g., entitlement, power, and esteem) not only through agentic but also
communal means (e.g., being extraordinarily helpful or trustworthy; Gebauer et al., 2012).
Most of the previous studies focused only on comparing two out of three narcissism
facets (e.g., agentic vs antagonistic or agentic vs communal; Wetzel, Leckelt, Gerlach, &
Back, 2016; Żemojtel-Piotrowska, Czarna, Piotrowski, Baran, & Maltby, 2016). Fatfouta,
Zeigler-Hill, and Schröder-Abé (2017) confirmed that the antagonistic and agentic facets are
positively related to each other. Additionally, they revealed that while the communal facet is
positively related to the agentic facet, it is unrelated to the antagonistic facet (Fatfouta et al.,
2017). However, this lack of relation between antagonistic and communal narcissism might
1
We use the terms narcissistic rivalry and antagonistic narcissism as well as narcissistic admiration and agentic
narcissism as interchangeable.
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 7
be obscured by communal self-enhancement. Antagonistic narcissism is directed against
others through aggressiveness, hostility, or unforgiveness (Back et al., 2013; Grove, Smith,
Girard, & Wright, in press). In contrast, communal narcissism (at least as expressed in the
self-report) involves supporting others through (apparent) friendliness or warmth (Gebauer et
al., 2012), although it is unrelated to actual communal behaviours (Nehrlich, Gebauer,
Sedikides, & Schoel, 2018). For this reason, one would expect that outcomes related to
communal and antagonistic aspects of narcissism are opposite, at least in self-report studies.
1.2. Narcissism and trust
Trust can be described as a personality characteristic that refers to the general
willingness to trust others or the general assumption about the positive nature of the social
world (Evans & Revelle, 2008; Farris, Senner, & Butterfield, 1973; Mayer et al., 1995;
Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). Individuals with a higher propensity to trust are more likely
to perceive other people as trustworthy and consider their intentions as benevolent
(Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). In the Five Factor Model of personality, trust is regarded as
a cognitive facet of the agreeableness trait and refers to the propensity of an individual to
trust others (Costa & McCrae, 1992; Soto & John, 2017). However, it could also be regarded
as a stable style of thinking about others (Evans & Revelle, 2008; Rotter, 1971; Yamagishi &
Yamagishi, 1994). Therefore, trust can be examined both from a personality and social
psychology perspective. A distinction between trust understood as a personality trait or as an
individual-difference variable associated with stable assumptions about the nature of the
social world seems to be irrelevant to narcissism as both approaches assume that trusting
people manifests in positive perceptions of others. However, trust considered as an
individual-difference variable might be associated with two aspects: (1) cognitive bias or
generalized attitude toward others, so that it is based on beliefs about the human nature, or (2)
self-perception as a person who appears open and benevolent to others due to one’s own
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 8
trustworthiness, so that it is associated with one’s self-image (Gebauer et al., 2012).
Therefore, the first aspect refers to the question, how narcissists perceive others, while the
latter refers to how narcissists perceive themselves. Hence, including both perspectives on
trust, that is, as a cognitive bias/attitude and as a personality trait, might help us understand
the complicated relationship between trust and different facets of grandiose narcissism.
Narcissists can skillfully exploit social relationships to build up their own position and
status, but over time these relationships deteriorate due to narcissists’ lack of empathy and
trust towards others (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). Indeed, individuals scoring high in grandiose
narcissism tend to score low on trust measured as a general opinion about others (Konrath,
Chopik, Hsing, & O'Brien, 2014). However, Glover, Miller, Lynam, Crego, and Widiger
(2012) found a positive relation only between antagonistic expressions of narcissism and
distrust, suggesting that the distinction between antagonistic and agentic narcissism would be
important in examining convictions about the human nature. Noteworthy, all of the studies
above did not investigate how communal narcissism relates to trust. Thus, it is not clear to
what extent communal self-views as a trustworthy person go along with positive views of
others benevolence. In light of the observed inconsistencies and the lack of inclusion of
communal narcissism in previous research, the current study aims to systematically examine
the narcissism-trust relationship in a more nuanced way by scrutinising distinct narcissism
and trust facets.
Antagonistic narcissism is related to overt competition with others. For this reason, this
facet should be related to social convictions associated with negative views of interpersonal
relationships, like zero-sum thinking, assuming opposition in the interests of individuals, and
this way of thinking is negatively related to trust (Różycka-Tran, Boski, & Wojciszke, 2015).
Agentic narcissism, however, is associated with self-enhancement in the agentic domain,
which is less relevant to the perception of the human nature as trustworthy (Wojciszke &
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 9
Abele, 2008). Indeed, Back et al. (2013) reported a lack of correlation between perceptions of
trustworthiness and agentic narcissism, while antagonistic narcissism was negatively
correlated with these perceptions. Finally, communal narcissism is positively associated with
self-enhancement in the communal domain (Gebauer et al., 2012). Moreover, communal
narcissists consider themselves as “extraordinarily trustworthy” (Gebauer et al., 2012; p.
878). It is important to note that due to social norms, people present high levels of trust even
if they actually do not experience trust (Dunning, Anderson, Schlӧsser, Ehlebracht, &
Fetchenhauer, 2014). Therefore, communal narcissists should follow this social norm for self-
presentation aims, given that by presenting their own trustworthiness they could successfully
maintain their communal self-view in front of others.
2. Current study
The main aim of the present study was to investigate the relations between facets of
narcissism and trust. As narcissism is a heterogeneous construct (Ackerman et al., 2011;
Wink, 1991), the current research distinguished three facets: agentic, antagonistic, and
communal. We hypothesised that each of these narcissism facets would have a unique
relation to trust: (1) agentic narcissism would be unrelated; (2) antagonistic narcissism would
be negatively related; and (3) communal narcissism would be positively related to trust. As
existing research suggests that these facets of narcissism are interrelated (Back et al., 2013;
Fatfouta et al., 2017), we conducted linear regression models in which the different forms of
narcissism were simultaneous predictors of trust. We provide the data used for our analyses
via the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/yz5ej/).
3. Method
3.1. Participants and procedure
Following Schönbrodt and Perugini (2013), we aimed for a minimum sample size of
250 individuals. Aside from sex and age, no further demographic details were collected. Data
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 10
were collected during a three-month period from October to December 2017 using Google
Forms platform. Participation was voluntary, and respondents could withdraw from the study
at any time without further explanation (in which case their responses were not recorded). As
an incentive, participants were able to join a cash prize draw. Given that data collection was
conducted online using snowball sampling (i.e., the link was spread via social networking
sites), we were able to exceed this criterion, and a total of 727 individuals participated (30.1%
were males). Ages ranged from 18 to 35 years (M = 22.19; SD = 2.54). All participants were
Polish residents, and all measures were administered in Polish. All procedures were approved
by the institutional Ethics Board (the decision was issued on October 25th; decision ID: KEiB
14/2017).
3.2. Measures
For all measures described below, high scores reflect a higher level of the characteristic
being assessed (i.e., higher narcissism and higher trust).
3.2.1. Agentic and antagonistic narcissism. The Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry
Questionnaire-Short (NARQ-S; Back et al., 2013; Leckelt et al., 2018) is a six-item measure
of narcissism distinguishing its agentic and antagonistic facets and referring to its affective-
motivational, cognitive, and behavioral processes: (1) grandiosity, striving for uniqueness,
and charmingness in terms of narcissistic admiration (3 items each; e.g., I deserve to be seen
as a great personality); (2) devaluation, striving for supremacy, and aggressiveness in terms
of narcissistic rivalry (3 items each; e.g., I react annoyed if another person steals the show
from me). Respondents answered using a six-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not
agree at all) to 6 (agree completely). Mean scores were computed for narcissistic admiration
and rivalry, respectively.
3.2.2. Communal narcissism. The Communal Narcissism Inventory (CNI; Gebauer et
al., 2012) is a 16-item measure originating from the Agency-Communion Model of
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 11
narcissism according to which communal narcissists share the same core self-motives as
agentic narcissists, but they meet these motives through communal means (e.g., I will be well
known for the good deeds I will have done). Respondents answered using a seven-point
Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly) to 7 (agree strongly).
3.2.3. Trust. The General Trust Scale (GTS; Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994) is a brief
six-item measure of generalised trust, defined as the assurance encouragingly leading to
cooperative interactions with others (e.g., Most people are basically honest.). In the current
study, respondents answered using a seven-point response scale ranging from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Furthermore, to enhance the generalisability of results across
trust measures, we administered the trust facet scale derived from the Big Five Inventory-2
(BFI; Soto & John, 2017), which is a four-item measure capturing interpersonal trust defined
as “holding positive generalised beliefs about others” (p. 121). Two of these items are
negatively worded
2
. Therefore subjects rated how much they consider themselves as someone
who, for example, …assumes the best about people or is suspicious of others’ intentions
using a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly) to 5 (agree strongly).
Thus, whereas the first measure captures how narcissists perceive others, the latter allows an
assessment of how they perceive themselves.
4. Results
4.1. Zero-order correlations, descriptive statistics, and reliability estimates
Zero-order correlations (corrected for multiple comparisons using the Bonferroni
method, i.e., .05/n; n = number of study variables), descriptive statistics, and reliability
estimates for all variables under study are presented in Table 1.
Table 1
Zero-order correlations, descriptive statistics and reliability estimates of studied variables
1
2
4
5
2
Negative items were reverse-coded in order to compute summated scores and perform the analyses.
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 12
1. Agentic narcissism
2. Antagonistic narcissism
.43*
3. Communal narcissism
.46*
.13*
4. Trust (GTS)
-.01
-.21*
5. Trust (BFI)
-.07
-.35*
.47*
M (SD)
2.94 (1.17)
3.18 (1.19)
4.10 (1.14)
2.95 (0.73)
α
.78
.56a
.83
.57b
Note. N = 727. GTS = General Trust Scale (Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994); BFI = trust facet
scale derived from the Big Five Inventory-2 (Soto & John, 2017).
*Correlations were adjusted for multiple comparisons: .05/5 = p .01 (two-tailed).
aThe reliability for antagonistic narcissism is relatively low. However, previous studies using
this measure (Leckelt et al., 2018) indicated that the short version is in line with the full
version of the NARQ (Back et al., 2013).
bThe reliability for trust as measured with the BFI facet scale is modest, albeit paralleling the
lower reliability estimates of shorter versions of the Big Five measurement, especially
agreeableness and its facets (e.g., Lang et al., 2011; Hahn, Gottschling, & Spinath, 2012; Soto
& John, 2017).
Agentic narcissism was positively related to both antagonistic and communal
narcissism, while antagonistic and communal narcissism was positive, albeit weakly, related
to each other. The relationship between narcissism and trust showed a differentiated pattern.
That is, agentic narcissism was not significantly related to trust, whereas antagonistic
narcissism was negatively related, and communal narcissism was positively related. Most
importantly, the pattern of relations replicated across trust measures, supporting the
robustness of results across different trust measures.
4.2. Regression models examining relations between facets of narcissism and trust
Because narcissism facets were moderately correlated, the shared variance between
them could potentially impact the observed results. Thus, using two multiple regression
models examining relations between facets of narcissism (independent variable) and trust
(dependent variable) as measured by GTS (Model 1) and BFI (Model 2), we controlled for
this shared variance. Table 2 details the standardised estimates for the tested models.
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 13
Table 2
Standardized beta regression coefficients of facets of narcissism predicting trust as measured
by the GTS (Model 1) and the BFI (Model 2)
Agentic narcissism
Antagonistic narcissism
Communal narcissism
Trust
R2
β[95%CI]
t
p
β[95%CI]
t
p
β[95%CI]
t
p
GTSa
.08
.02[-.06; .11]
0.52
.604
-.24[-.31; -.16]
-6.11
.001
.17[.10; .27]
4.25
.001
BFI
.22
-.08[-.10; .01]
-1.89
.060
-.36[-.26; -.18]
-9.89
.001
.35[.19; .29]
9.30
.001
Note. CI = confidence interval; GTS = General Trust Scale (Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994);
BFI = trust facet scale derived from the Big Five Inventory-2 (Soto & John, 2017).
aOne out of six items of the GTS (i.e., I am trustful) differs significantly from the other
statements, which start with the formula “Most people are…”. In order to strictly refer to trust
operationalised as a generalised belief about others, we tested an additional linear regression
model, in which we excluded this problematic item. The results, however, did not change
substantially.
Both models predicting trust as measured by GTS (F(3,723) = 20.10; p < .001) and the
BFI (F(3,723) = 68.65; p < .001) were significant. Controlling for the shared variance among
narcissism facets thus did not influence the observed results. In particular and, as expected,
agentic narcissism was still unrelated, antagonistic narcissism was negatively related, and
communal narcissism was positively related to trust, both as measured with the GTS and the
BFI. The strength of the relation did not change for agentic and antagonistic narcissism but
increased for communal narcissism (for the BFI trust facet) once again supporting the
hypothesised pattern of relations between narcissism and trust.
5. Discussion
In the existing literature, there is a general assumption that narcissists do not trust
others (Miller et al., 2017; Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). However, this premise was examined
by measuring distrust and not trust (often defined as the opposite of trust; Glover et al., 2012;
Krizan & Johar, 2015) or by neglecting the multifaceted nature of grandiose narcissism
(agentic, antagonistic, and communal). Moreover, previous narcissism research failed to
differentiate between trustworthiness (i.e., an aspect of personality and self-image) and trust
as an assumption about the good nature of others (Kong, 2015; Konrath et al., 2014). As trust
and distrust yield distinct consequences (Lewicki et al., 1998), the lack of a direct
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 14
examination of narcissism and trust seems surprising. The current study aimed to fill these
gaps. The distinction between attitudes and one’s own self-image is particularly important in
studies on narcissism due to different ways of narcissistic self-enhancement, which could be
related to both agency and communion (Gebauer et al., 2012) or different relational
dynamics, as reflected in the distinction between admiration and rivalry (Back et al., 2013).
Our results revealed that grandiose narcissism while considering its different facets
yields a differentiated pattern of relations with trust: (1) the agentic facet was unrelated, (2)
the antagonistic facet was negatively related, and (3) the communal facet was positively
related to trust. Conclusions drawn from our research meet theoretical assumptions of the
NARC (Back et al., 2013) and the A-C model of narcissism (Gebauer et al., 2012), according
to which the overarching goal of grandiose narcissists is to maintain their excessively positive
self-view.
Including both aspects of trust revealed a slight difference between self-perception and
other-perception for the agentic aspect. Interestingly, agentic narcissism occurred to be
negatively (yet only at the tendency level) related to one’s self-perception as a trusting
person, but this self-perception was unrelated to lower levels of trust toward others.
Therefore, agentic narcissism is probably not associated with costs of low trust. Only the
antagonistic aspect of narcissism is accompanied by lower levels of trust, preventing
antagonistic narcissists from cooperation, commitment, and satisfactory relations with others.
The proposed distinction between agentic and antagonistic narcissism (Back et al.,
2013) complements previous studies on trust and narcissism because it allows stating that the
lack of trust toward others and the world is rather rooted in the malevolent and self-protective
nature of narcissism. In contrast, narcissistic self-promotion and assertive self-enhancement,
which serves as a mean to gain others’ recognition (Back et al., 2013), is neither related nor
unrelated to trust. Such conclusions seem to be consistent with research revealing that both
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 15
agentic and antagonistic narcissism predict interpersonal conflict, but only the latter is
uniquely related to general interpersonal problems (Grove et al., in press).
Trust is crucial for building a satisfactory relationship with another person (Campbell,
Simpson, Boldry, & Rubin, 2010) and a positive relation with communal narcissism might
suggest that this facet of narcissism may also be less problematic than its agentic counterpart.
However, the underlying motivation of communal narcissists contains also the agentic motive
of self-enhancement (Rogoza & Fatfouta, 2018). Moreover, when more indirect measures are
used (e.g., implicit tests) this effect may be less prominent (Fatfouta et al., 2017), which
might reveal that the core motive of communal narcissist is indeed agentic. On the other
hand, agentic narcissism is unrelated to trust as an attitude toward others, so that the problem
with the interpersonal functioning of grandiose narcissists seems to be limited only to its
antagonistic aspect.
The current study demonstrates that there is a need to study narcissism in a more
nuanced manner as the three facets of narcissism turned out to comprise divergent social
strategies serving the same goal, that is, maintaining a grandiose self. Despite the widely held
assumption that narcissists do not trust others, they are ready to view themselves as
trustworthy when they engage in communal self-enhancement. Most correlational studies on
narcissism and distrust did not measure convictions about others but rather self-perception.
There was also no direct evidence that narcissism is negatively related to accepting one’s own
vulnerability in interpersonal relationships, preventing narcissists from engaging in positive
relationships. Our correlational results suggest that agentic and communal narcissism is not
associated with problems related to low trust. Moreover, communal narcissism is positively
associated with trust, suggesting that this form of grandiose narcissism could be more
socialized” that its agentic counterpart. However, without experimental and behavioural data
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 16
we cannot claim that holding positive convictions about the human nature results in more
cooperative and benevolent relations.
5.1. Limitations and future directions
Due to the self-report design, we were able to examine narcissistic beliefs related to
trust regarding both human nature (i.e., trust defined as a propensity to see others as
trustworthy) and self-perception (i.e., seeing oneself as ready to trust others). However, we
did not capture narcissists’ actual trust behaviour. Including different sources of data such as
observer reports, implicit self-views, or behavioural measures should be applied in future
studies to test the extent to which our findings generalise across different assessment formats.
Recent research suggests that while the effects of admiration and rivalry generally follow
their theoretical descriptions when non-standard measures (e.g., Ultimatum Game) are used,
there is an inconsistency between explicit and implicit communal self-views (Fatfouta &
Schröder-Abé, 2018). This suggests that our results regarding communal narcissism might
not hold when behavioural measures of trust (e.g., Trust Game) are applied.
6. Conclusion
The current study indicates that including three aspects of grandiose narcissism in
examining the relation between narcissism and trust revealed quite a differentiated picture.
Furthermore, adopting the distinction between different trust facets appears meaningful and
allows for predicting how narcissistic individuals might interact with others. We are
confident that our study could serve as a starting point for future investigations, highlighting
the necessity of including different aspects of grandiose narcissism and including both the
self-image aspect of trust and actual assumptions about the human nature.
NARCISSISM AND TRUST 17
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... However, different facets of narcissism also have different relationships with trust. For example, the agentic facet of narcissism (narcissistic admiration) is positively correlated with trust, while the antagonistic facet of narcissism (narcissistic rivalry) is negatively correlated with trust (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). Other research suggests that grandiose narcissists have lower levels of trust due to the antagonistic aspect (Poggi et al., 2019). ...
... Narcissistic admiration is based on assertive self-promotion strategies to maintain positive self-evaluation (Back et al., 2013;Back, 2018), indicating that narcissists show a high level of approval of their self-image. Trust is related to an individual's self-image because one appears open and kind to others because of his or her own trustworthiness (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). From this perspective, individuals with high narcissistic admiration may be prone to trust others. ...
... Hostile intentions or interpersonal behaviors indicate a lack of trust (Sharp et al., 2011). Empirical studies have found a negative correlation between narcissistic rivalry and trust (Dong et al., 2020;Fang et al., 2021;Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). Trust is recognized as a cornerstone of interpersonal and social relationships (Dong et al., 2018;Thielmann & Hilbig 2015) and an important factor in developing and maintaining good interpersonal functioning (Rotenberg, 2010;Simpson, 2007). ...
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... Therefore, agentic and communal narcissists manifest differences in their self-thoughts, behaviors, and basic personality traits. Communal narcissists tend to have high self-esteem and subjective well-being (Gebauer & Sedikides, 2018 for review), indicating greater levels of interpersonal trust (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019) and perceived social support (Gąsiorowska et al., 2021). In addition, most social effects of communal narcissism are not socially aversive (Rentzsch & Gebauer, 2019). ...
... Specifically, the present-oriented factor seems more related to positive aspects of individual functioning, while the futureoriented factor seems more exploitative and antagonistic. However, probably because of structural problems with the CNI (Żemojtel-Piotrowska et al., 2016), in virtually all subsequent studies, communal narcissism was examined as a homogenous phenomenon, without distinction between these two factors (Fatfouta & Schröder-Abé, 2018;Freis & Brunell, 2022;Giacomin & Jordan, 2015;Kwiatkowska et al., 2019;Żemojtel-Piotrowska et al., 2016). Yet, the future-oriented factor seems to be a good candidate for a mechanism restoring communal selfas possible failure in the communal domain requires some reparative actions, such a strategy allows for restoring grandiose communal self (Gebauer & Sedikides, 2018). ...
... Still, these effects are limited to narcissistic antagonism (Burgmer et al., 2021;Szymczak et al., 2020), while communal narcissism is linked to higher levels of trust (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). A negative exchange balance in romantic relationships was positively related to the sense of entitlement (Żemojtel-Piotrowska et al., 2015), which is an antagonistic part of narcissism (Brown et al., 2009;Krizan & Herlache, 2018). ...
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In the current paper we introduce a new conceptualization of communal narcissism, as encompassed by two narcissistic strategies congruent with self-promotion and self-defensive motives. In addition, we posit that communal narcissistic strategies should be aligned with communal self-enhancement. Therefore, we propose narcissistic sanctity as an ego-boosting strategy and narcissistic heroism as an ego-defensive strategy. In a series of eleven studies (N = 5,606) we develop, validate, and employ what we will call the Narcissistic Sanctity and Heroism Concept. We found the scale to be a robust measure of communal narcissism and that the two postulated strategies are psychologically distinct while psychometrically sound. Specifically, we found that narcissistic sanctity was related to implicit and explicit communion, communal (but not agentic) self-enhancement and explained more socially (as compared to heroism) acceptable functioning in close relationships, being positively correlated with prosocialness via denying one’s egoistic motivations. Narcissistic heroism, on the other hand, was related both to agency and communion, it was unrelated to communal self-enhancement, explained less socially acceptable (as compared to sanctity) functioning in close relationships, and was related to less prosocialness via egoistic motivation. In sum, a newly proposed model of communal narcissism sheds new light on prior research on communal narcissism, explaining null relationships between communal self-presentation and actual behaviors in the communal domain.
... It is a trait commonly associated with grandiosity, entitlement, and manipulativeness, but also with assertiveness and seeking attention (Miller et al., 2017). Narcissists need other people to gain positive feedback about themselves (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001) while at the same time they use defensive strategies toward others (Back et al., 2013) and tend to distrust them (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). Such a way of perceiving others causes their distorted view on social relationships. ...
... Vulnerable narcissism concerns this construct's pathological side and is of interest mainly to clinical psychology, while grandiose narcissism is treated like a subclinical personality trait (Weiss & Miller, 2018;Wink, 1991). In the current study, we focus on grandiose narcissism, differentiating between its three aspectsagentic, antagonistic, and communal (Fatfouta et al., 2017;Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). Those aspects can be described by two models. ...
... Antagonistic narcissism is connected to low agreeableness (Rogoza et al., 2018) and low emotional stability , the traits that are determinants of stable social functioning and cooperativeness (Goldberg, 1999). Antagonistic narcissists perceive others as a threat (Lange et al., 2016) and tend to distrust them (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019). They also function worse in relationships with other people (Back et al., 2013;Wurst et al., 2017), so they experience more loneliness (Rogoza et al., 2018). ...
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... Narcissism is related to distrust since people high in narcissism are reluctant to make themselves vulnerable to others (Kong, 2015;Krizan and Johar, 2015;Poggi et al., 2019). Specifically, antagonistic narcissism (a form of narcissism that blends grandiose and vulnerable narcissism) is negatively related to general trust (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019;Szymczak et al., 2020). However, previous studies mainly focused on the trust belief. ...
... In the existing literature, narcissism is characterized by a lack of trust in others (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019;Poggi et al., 2019;Szymczak et al., 2020). However, these studies mainly examined the trust belief and less regarded trust behavior. ...
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... High (vs. low) communal narcissists do not typically express negative views of others; rather, they report that they trust others and believe others are reliable, honest, and benevolent (Kwiatkowska et al., 2019;Rentzsch & Gebauer, 2019). Accordingly, we hypothesized that they would predict an earlier withdrawal moment for themselves than the average peer. ...
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... Whilst, in the current study, this location was still in the expected range, some studies reported that Admiration slightly exceeded the line of the Beta metatrait . Moreover, there are studies (Fatfouta et al., 2017;Kwiatkowska et al., 2019) that report higher correlations between Admiration and communal narcissism (Gebauer et al., 2012), which is located above the Beta metatrait in the CPM . Rivalry remained in closest proximity to Alpha-Minus/Disinhibition, confirming its malevolent character, however, it was partially located on the vulnerable half of the NSM (Krizan, 2018;Rogoza et al., 2019). ...
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This study examined how narcissism, described by the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept (NARC), relates to reactions to romantic relationship dissolution. 246 participants completed a survey assessing the NARC components, and measures concerning a specific past relationship: Emotional reactions immediately following breakup, perceptions of the ex-partner, responsibility for initiating and attributions of blame for problems leading to breakup. Narcissistic rivalry was associated with greater externalized (anger) and internalized (sadness and anxiety) negative emotion, while narcissistic admiration was associated with greater anger and less sadness. Narcissistic admiration was associated with more positive and rivalry with more negative trait perceptions of the ex-partner. Narcissism was unrelated to attributions of blame for the breakup or relationship problems, but admiration was associated with a greater role in initiating breakup.
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