Narcissism as a moderator of satisfaction with body image in young women with extreme underweight and obesity

PLoS One. 2015 May 11;10(5):e0126724. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126724. eCollection 2015.


Objective: Body weight and age constitute main determinants of body image in women. We analyzed the role of narcissism as a moderator of body image in young women representing various extremes of body weight.

Methods: The study included 325 women between 18 and 35 years, qualified into three BMI categories: obese women (BMI > 30.0, n = 72), severely underweight women who did not satisfy the remaining criteria of anorexia (BMI < 17.5, n = 85), and women with normal body weight (21.7 < "ideal BMI" > 22.7, n = 168). Satisfaction with body image was determined with Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire and Body Esteem Scale, while narcissism was measured with Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

Principal findings: We revealed that narcissism has significant impact on the body image of women who are extremely underweight or obese. Vanity and Leadership were narcissism dimensions which played significant role in slim women, as compared to Vanity and Self-Sufficiency in obese women.

Conclusion: The role of narcissism as a modulator of self-satisfaction with one's body varies depending on BMI level: extremely underweight women and obese individuals constitute groups in which narcissism has the strongest impact on the self-satisfaction with body.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Narcissism*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinness / psychology*
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

The work was supported from statutory funds of the Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk and the Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport.