Moral grandstanding, narcissism, and self-reported responses to the COVID-19 crisis

Journal of Research in Personality 97 (104187):1-10 (2022)
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The present study aimed to understand how status-oriented individual differences such as narcissistic antagonism, narcissistic extraversion, and moral grandstanding motivations may have longitudinally predicted both behavioral and social media responses during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Via YouGov, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults was recruited in August of 2019 (N = 2,519; Mage = 47.5, SD = 17.8; 51.4% women) and resampled in May of 2020, (N = 1,533). Results indicated that baseline levels of narcissistic antagonism were associated with lower levels of social distancing and lower compliance with public health recommended behaviors. Similarly, dominance oriented moral grandstanding motivations predicted greater conflict with others over COVID-19, greater engagement in status-oriented social media behaviors about COVID-19, and lower levels of social distancing.

Author Profiles

Brandon Warmke
Bowling Green State University
Justin Tosi
Texas Tech University


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