Grandiose narcissism indirectly associates with lower psychopathology across five countries

Kostas A. Papageorgiou (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew Denovan, Neil Dagnall, Elena Hill-Artamonova, Foteini Maria Gianniou, Sofia Papageorgiou, Rachel A. Plouffe, Christopher Marcin Kowalski, Donald H. Saklofske, Theodoros Kyriazos, Anastasios Stalikas, Giulio Costantini

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Using five independent non-clinical cross-cultural samples (total N = 3649; overall Mage = 29.31; 31% male and 69% female), this study explored the extent to which Dark Triad traits were indirectly associated with symptoms of psychopathology through mental toughness. Although Machiavellianism and psychopathy have not been studied extensively in this context, previous research (both cross-sectional and longitudinal) reports that grandiose narcissism increases mental toughness contributing indirectly to positive outcomes such as lower anxiety, stress, and depression. Accordingly, this study examined Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism in the context of mental toughness and psychopathology. A particular focus was placed on investigating negative relationships between grandiose narcissism and psychopathology. Participants completed self-report measures assessing the Dark Triad, mental toughness, and psychopathology. In all samples, grandiose narcissism exerted moderate negative, indirect associations with anxiety, stress, and depression through mental toughness. Relationships between Machiavellianism and psychopathy and psychopathology were generally weak and positive but varied across countries. Findings provided further cross-cultural support for a mediation model in which grandiose narcissism is related to higher mental toughness and lower psychopathology. Outcomes from this study indicate that exploration of the link between grandiose narcissism and resilience traits such as mental toughness can provide important conceptual insights into the adaptive properties of narcissism, and help to explain why grandiose narcissism is associated with a decrease in some psychopathological symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number11
Early online date12 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Cross-cultural
  • Dark triad
  • Mental toughness
  • Narcissism
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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