Narcissism and the Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model: Effects of Social Comparison Threats on Relationship Closeness Academic Article uri icon


  • When threatened with an upward social comparison with a close other in a self-relevant domain, people may reduce either the self-relevance of the ability being compared or their perceived closeness to the other person (Tesser, 1988). Those high in the trait of narcissism may be more likely to push away others who outperform them. Participants and nominated close others completed online measures of narcissism, contingent self-worth, and relationship closeness. Subsequently, participants heard that their friend performed better (or equivalently) on a "competitive spirit" test. Participants higher in narcissism significantly reduced the closeness of their relationships after a threat but did not reduce the relevance of competitiveness to their self-worth.

publication date

  • February 17, 2011