Moral grandstanding, narcissism, and self-reported responses to the COVID-19 crisis

Joshua B. Grubbs, A. Shanti James, Brandon Warmke, Justin Tosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study aimed to understand how status-oriented individual differences such as narcissistic antagonism, narcissistic extraversion, and moral grandstanding motivations may have longitudinally predicted both behavioral and social media responses during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Via YouGov, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults was recruited in August of 2019 (N = 2,519; Mage = 47.5, SD = 17.8; 51.4% women) and resampled in May of 2020, (N = 1,533). Results indicated that baseline levels of narcissistic antagonism were associated with lower levels of social distancing and lower compliance with public health recommended behaviors. Similarly, dominance oriented moral grandstanding motivations predicted greater conflict with others over COVID-19, greater engagement in status-oriented social media behaviors about COVID-19, and lower levels of social distancing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104187
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Antisocial behavior
  • Entitlement
  • Status seeking
  • Virtue signaling


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