A new study explores the connection between narcissism and stress:
The researchers found that men with high levels of unhealthy narcissism also had higher cortisol levels. Unhealthily narcissistic ladies had higher levels too, but the effect was much smaller. Higher levels of cortisol mean narcissistic dudes have a more active stress response, which could lead to cardiovascular problems — the study authors note that "future work might examine [whether] high narcissism in earlier life predicts poor health outcomes in later life." Though hanging out with a narcissistic person is certainly stressful, it's not obvious why narcissists themselves would be freaked out. Reinhard et al, however, note that previous research has shown that "narcissists are susceptible to a host of unrealistic self-views that are difficult and stressful to continuously maintain." Translation: convincing yourself that you're the most important person in the world is actually a lot of work.
(Photo: Republican presidential hopeful former Speaker Newt Gingrich fires back at a protester in the crowd as he speaks in the parking lot of the Wings Plus restaurant January 25, 2012 in Coral Springs, Florida. By Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.)