Friday, February 26, 2010

Blacks, gay men, and narcissism

MIDUS study participants were asked: "I enjoy being unique and different from others in many respects." In personality research, this item is a measure of narcissism. Here are the means by race/ethnicity (N = 3,980):

Narcissism mean score

Blacks 4.87*
Asians 4.75
Hispanics 4.41
Amerindians 4.21
Whites 4.07

*significantly higher than whites at the 95% confidence level


The black mean is 1/2 a standard deviation higher than the white mean--a moderate difference. The higher measured black level of self-esteem might be actually tapping greater narcissism.


Gay men 4.79*
Bisexual men 4.59
Straight men 4.13

*significantly higher than straight men at the 95% confidence level


The mean for gay men is more than four-tenths of a standard deviation higher than the straight male mean--also a moderate difference.

5 comments:

Underachiever said...

"I enjoy being unique and different from others in many respects."

Gay men ARE different than straight men in many respects. Perhaps straight men don't choose this as much because they are not as unique to start with.

Ron Guhname said...

True, but gay men have a higher mean for these questions as well:

1. "I feel that 'I'm the greatest' and better than other people."
2. "I brag a lot about myself and what I do."
3. "I am a self-centered person. I want things to go my way."
4. "I remind myself that I'm "number one" and have to look out for myself first."
5. "I am better at doing most things than other people."

http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2009/09/homosexuality-and-narcissism.html

Anonymous said...

"I enjoy being unique and different from others in many respects."

Not surprising, is it, that many would say this? A well-adjusted person learns that if you can't be like the "others," it's best to embrace what makes you different. 2) If you aren't well-adjusted, it's a common defense mechanism to claim you enjoy being different.

Mark said...

What Underachiever said. Gay men and racial minorities are different from the heterosexual white majority. Part of developing a healthy self-identity is embracing those differences.

Regarding the other questions, how do racial minorities score on them relative to whites? (My apologies if you have answered this question somewhere else... I'm writing this on the fly). If they are not universally higher than whites, this would suggest that gay men are more narcissistic. If they are, again, universally higher than whites, this would suggest that racial minorities and gay men might be exhibiting a "phantom narcissism" in response to their estrangement from the dominant culture.

For what it's worth, I would not be surprised if blacks and gay men were naturally more narcissistic than whites and heterosexuals, respectively. However, nor would I be surprised if there was no significant difference. I would be surprised if whites and heterosexuals were actually more narcissistic than blacks and gays, or if Asians were actually more narcissistic than whites.

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