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New light on narcissistic women and offending

14 June 2017

Narcissistic women are more likely to have engaged in violent offending behaviour than narcissistic men.

That is the conclusion of research being presented to the annual conference of our Division of Forensic Psychology today by Victoria Blinkhorn from the University of Liverpool.

In her research Victoria Blinkhorn recruited 632 participants (501 women, 131 men) over the internet and asked them to complete a survey covering their personality and any past criminal offending.

Analysing the results, she found a relationship between narcissism and offending in women but not in men, distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive narcissism.

Adaptive narcissism involves more socially acceptable traits such as leadership, confidence and assertiveness, whereas maladaptive narcissism involves more ‘socially toxic’ traits such as exploitativeness, entitlement rage, and anti social tendencies. 

Victoria found that maladaptive narcissism was the better predictor of offending behaviour in women - adaptive narcissism predicated current stealing, but maladaptive narcissism was associated with total and current overall offending and current general violence. 

Commenting on her findings, she added:

“There is not a great literature on narcissism and offending behaviour in women, but our findings suggest that that narcissistic women may be more dangerous than previously thought. As such, both sexes should be included in future research on narcissism and offending”.


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