What is the relationship between exercise addiction and narcissism?
Consistent with the first hypothesis and the findings by Spano and Elmen & McKelvie, a moderate positive relationship was found between exercise addiction and narcissism in participants who engage in a competitive team sport. This indicates that those who display higher levels of exercise addiction are likely to report greater narcissism. Narcissism, regarding addiction, has rapidly been developed since Freud and it is now identified as a core factor of addiction. A Narcissistic personality is typically seen as an obsessive compulsiveness and perfectionist trait which is driven by gratification and admiration. Therefore, individuals with high narcissism tend to engage in exercise and sport to enhance one’s self-worth and increase appearance. As narcissists are constantly striving for opportunities of enhancement by others, individuals who display greater narcissism may tend to engage in the sport to meet their narcissistic expectations.
Spano and Hall et al. found that narcissism was directly related to exercise engagement, with greater narcissism leading to increased exercise activity. The results obtained in this present study correlate with the assumption by Spano and Hall et al., indicating that exercise may be more addictive for narcissistic individuals. Thus, this could explain why Narcissism was the primary predictor of exercise addiction. According to Pritchard & Beaver, narcissists often exercise to excess because it is related to increased positive consequences that effectively enhance their self-esteem and self-worth. Therefore, it seems that narcissists engage in excessive bursts of activity to enhance their appearance and state of mind, although excessive exercise may diverge into exercise addiction as the narcissist may constantly feel the need to exercise to maintain a high level of self-esteem and self-worth. Additionally, Hall et al. found that self-esteem and self-worth mediate the relationship between self-acceptance and exercise addiction. As narcissism is highly coordinated with self-worth, this could aid in helping to explain the moderate significant relationship between narcissism and exercise addiction.