Conversational narcissism in marriage: effects on partner mental health and marital quality over the transition to parenthood
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This study seeks to explore how narcissistic attention seeking behaviors in faceto-face conversation contribute to marital quality and partner’s mental health over the transition to parenthood. Narcissism, considered a personality disorder, is defined as an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity in fantasy or behavior. Central features of narcissism include a need for admiration and a lack of empathy. The concept of narcissism has been extended beyond mental illness and is now considered a personality trait (Raskin & Terry, 1988). It follows then that narcissistic tendencies might affect one’s communication style. This research elaborates the concept of narcissism, and discusses the ways that narcissistic patterns in interpersonal relationships have been studied. Finally, drawing upon social exchange theory, it finds that conversational narcissism characterizes 78 percent of marriages, frequently renders spouses invisible, and predicts maladaptive dialogue and divorce at seven years.