People who demonstrate characteristics of pathological narcissism have difficulties when it comes to relating to others, explained the study's lead author Emily Mouilso, assistant professor at University of Georgia in the US.
The study found that men with vulnerable narcissistic traits were more likely to use alcohol or other date-rape drugs to incapacitate their victims, a finding that is especially concerning on a college campus, Mouilso said.
Narcissists feel a sense of entitlement to anything they want, something that makes it easier for them to rationalize their aggressive and sometimes illegal behaviors, she said.
The study, published in the journal Violence Against Women, found a strong connection between pathological narcissism and sexual assault perpetration through a survey of 234 male university students, mostly in their first and second years of college.
"As we predicted, the aspects of narcissism that we thought would be related were - the lack of empathy, the entitlement aspects of narcissism," Mouilso said.
What surprised them was the link between vulnerable narcissism and rape perpetration.
Vulnerable narcissists express high levels of self-esteem but are actually very insecure, Mouilso said.
Non-pathological narcissism, on the other hand, can be somewhat beneficial because it manifests in high self-esteem and makes it easier for people to shake off failures, study co-author Karen Calhoun from University of Georgia said. (IANS)