The One Personality Trait That Reveals Higher Risk Factors For Bullying, Aggression, And Violence

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People With Narcissistic Personality Traits Have Higher Risk Of Violence, Bullying & Aggression

Researchers at the Ohio State University have just made major progress on something we’ve all suspected for a long time: Narcissism is a huge risk factor for violence. 

How did researchers link narcissism to violence?

The researchers performed a meta-analysis, or a study that looks at other studies. In this case, they combed through data from 437 studies and a total of 123,043 subjects.

The data was collected from research that took place all over the world, and melded together to form a clear picture that could clearly state the results. 

RELATED: How To Deal With A Narcissist — 8 Smart & Simple Steps

The fascinating thing about this particular examination is that there’s no difference between race, gender, country, or other factors. All over the world, narcissistic people are more prone to violence.

Why are narcissistic people more likely to be violent? 

The main element that narcissistic people have, and which seems to correlate with violent behavior, is entitlement. Narcissists feel entitled to things in their lives, and get upset when they don’t get them. 

Whether it’s a situation where someone has developed the disorder without external influence, or through a history of falling prey to the narcissistic bubble, a narcissist feels entitled to special treatment, praise and material things because they possess a massive overestimation of their own self value. 

Not only that, but narcissists also possess feelings of superiority over others. It isn’t just that they deserve more because they can do better, they deserve it because they believe they simply are better. 

Sophie Kjærvik, lead author of the study, found that narcissists were more likely to be violent whether they were provoked or not. But when provoked, they had a much higher incidence of violence than the general population. 

RELATED: 6 Signs You're In Love With A Serious Narcissist

Narcissists feel insulted or slighted when they believe that others are not appreciating them as much as they're worth. Since they have an extremely skewed view of their worth, this can happen even in circumstances that others would simply brush off in a healthy manner. 

Unfortunately, Kjærvik says that narcissists don’t often care about who they hurt when they themselves are upset. “Individuals who are high in narcissism are not particularly picky when it comes to how they attack others,” she says. 

Narcissism can cause dangerous outcomes.

One of the biggest implications of the fact that narcissists will indiscriminately target the innocent is that they may be more likely to contribute to mass-casualty situations, like mass shootings. Discovering that this is a major risk factor could help prevent such occurrences in the future. 

But not only did the research find an increased rate of violence, it also uncovered that narcissists will engage in other harmful behavior more often, like bullying, and were more likely to plan and orchestrate their actions in a deliberate manner.

In other words, narcissists may actually plan their revenge carefully when they feel slighted. It also emerges where you’d least expect it.

As part of their research, the team looked at data from all over the world. They expected to find that in a region where individuality is celebrated, like the U.S., there would be higher rates of violence tied to narcissism.

But they actually found the opposite, noting more violence in collectivist communities that encouraged social collaboration. 

Narcissistic traits, not just clinical narcissism, are linked to violence, too.

Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor in Ohio State’s School of Communication, is keen to remind us that everyone expresses narcissistic traits from time to time.

While narcissism is a continuum and many people have the personality trait in differing amounts, only about 0.5 percent of the U.S. population has a clinical diagnosis. 

Bushman suggests that as people express more narcissistic behavior, they’re more prone to lashing out in violence. And they’re more likely to engage in bullying.

Having this understanding in a world connected by social media and the Internet might help us move a step toward solving issues like cyberbullying and even mass violence. 

RELATED: 9 Signs Of Narcissistic Abuse, Explained By A Therapist

Kevin Lankes, MFA, is an editor and author. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Here Comes Everyone, Pigeon Pages, Owl Hollow Press, The Huffington Post, The Riverdale Press, and more.