Does Appearance-Based Self-Esteem Mediate the Associations Between Narcissism and Appearance-Related Outcomes?

Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Ashton C. Southard, Amy Noser, Jasmine Masri, Melissa Sawa, Carissa Karanth, Elitca Mavrodieva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an association between narcissism and perceptions of attractiveness such that individuals with narcissistic personality features tend to be viewed by others as being more physically attractive. This is consistent with an evolutionary perspective on narcissism (i.e., selection pressures of short-term mating) as well as the self-regulatory model of narcissism (i.e., narcissists engage in self-enhancement to bolster their feelings of worth). The current study investigated the possibility that appearance-based self-esteem may mediate the association between narcissism and appearance-based outcomes such as perceived attractiveness and perceived effort put into appearance. Participants (i.e., Targets) completed self-report measures of narcissism and appearance-based self-esteem before making 3-minute dating videos which were then rated by 4 naïve undergraduate research assistants (i.e., Perceivers) with regard to the physical attractiveness and appearance effort made by the Targets. Results revealed that appearance-based selfesteem mediated the relationships that narcissism had with attractiveness and appearance effort. These findings are consistent with previous research suggesting that aspects of narcissism are manifested in physical appearance and provide evidence for a possible mechanism underlying the relationship between narcissism and attractiveness (i.e., appearance-based self-esteem).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalJournal of Scientific Psychology
StatePublished - 2014


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