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Seeking attention vs seeking approval: how conspicuous consumption differs for grandiose and vulnerable narcissts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Efstathia Tzemou


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Narcissism, a personality trait, characterised by entitlement and dominance, is present to some extent in everyone and its prevalence is increasing. Two subtypes of narcissism exist: grandiose (characterised by exaggerated sense of self-worth and dominance) and vulnerable narcissism (characterised by social insecurity and overreliance on others’ feedback). People high in either subtype exhibit materialistic tendencies and may thus engage in ostentatious, showy purchases, or conspicuous consumption. However, since the subtypes differ so profoundly in their self-esteem regulation strategies, their motivation to consume conspicuously may be affected by different factors. We hypothesised that grandiose narcissists’ conspicuous consumption is driven by their need-for-uniqueness, whilst vulnerable narcissists’ is driven by avoiding social disapproval. We tested our hypotheses on a sample of 382 participants. Results first showed that both narcissism subtypes were predictors of conspicuous consumption. Second, whilst the relationship between grandiose narcissism and conspicuous consumption was mediated by the need-for-uniqueness, approval-seeking was only a marginally significant mediator of the relationship between vulnerable narcissism and conspicuous consumption in females.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Neave L, Tzemou E, Fastoso F

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: INEKA Conference

Year of Conference: 2019

Acceptance date: 19/02/2019

Publisher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Academy (INEKA)