If you post to social media and take selfies for self assurance, you're what a new psychological study has called a 'vulnerable narcissist'
It's a no-brainer that narcissism is stoked by social media. But a new study has found how different subtypes of narcissism are affected by it.
In a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, researchers looked at 540 students from across Europe. The participants completed surveys which asked them how they viewed themselves, and how often they posted on social media. The aim of the study was to find out what type of people are at a higher risk of social networking addiction.
The two subtypes which emerged from this study were 'vulnerable' narcissism and 'grandiose' narcissism. Grandiose narcissism is the kind which springs to mind when one imagines a typical narcissist. They're characterised by a need for admiration, high self-esteem, direct expression of exhibitionism, and arrogance. It's not that grandiose narcissists are super confident and invulnerable to criticism, but their response will be more aggressive and will reject the criticism as incorrect.
Conversely, a vulnerable narcissist is much more contained. They need smaller ego boosts, but often need them at a higher frequency than grandiose narcissists. They also find social interactions daunting. They're more covert and hypersensitive, and their narcissism is characterised by a defensiveness and insecurity about their evaluation of others.
The study found that people in the vulnerable subtype are avid users of social media, and will post online much more frequently than a grandiose narcissist. The never ending pot of likes, shares and positives comments makes social media well suited to their subtype of narcissism. - it allows them to create a carefully constructed version of their image, and use it as a filter for interactions with other people.