Narcissism and Self-Esteem as a Perspective to Substance Use in Young Adults


  • S. Priyadhersini Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Srinivas University, Mangalore, India
  • M. Shashidhar Kotian Professor, Department of Research, Srinivas University, Mangalore, India
  • Swaminathan Sambasivan Professor, Department of Hotel Management and Tourism, Srinivas University, Mangalore, India


Narcissism, Self-esteem, Drug use, Drug abuse, DAST 10, NPI, Rosenberg self-esteem scale, Personality traits, Young adults, Psychotherapy


In the last few decades, narcissism has drawn more attention as a sub-clinical personality trait with significant everyday effects, such as self-enhancement in views of one's own conduct and characteristics. A solid sense of self-worth is more likely to be narcissistic because they aspire to have strong, meaningful relationships with others and think they are competent and deserving, even though they may not necessarily see themselves as superior to others. On the other hand, narcissists could think they are superior to others but might not necessarily perceive themselves as deserving. Provocative research has been done on the relationship between drug usage and low self-esteem. The negative traits of narcissism that may manifest in youth in conjunction with drug use can support an individual's prolonged drug dependence if narcissism and drug use persist into adulthood. As a result of their narcissistic sense of superiority, they may still be using drugs. In addition, there are a handful to reaffirm the narcissistic pattern, a sense of superiority, in which strong verbal self-esteem hides low implicit self-esteem. Objective: This study aims to understand the influence of personality traits like narcissism on self-esteem and the relationship among these factors that leads to the effects of drug use or abuse and the preventive measures to substance use. Methods: Different authors have used various methods in conducting the studies. Some of them are Longitudinal study, cross sectional study, qualitative semi-structured interview, case study, psychological questionnaire, psychometry assessments such as screening for self-esteem, Narcissistic personality inventory, Substance Use Risk Profile Scale, correlation methods, t test analysis, Observation method, and other statistical tools etc. Results: According to every study considered, there is a direct link between narcissism and drug abuse as well as a number of personality qualities and self-esteem. Evidently, there isn't much study that looks at all three and how drug usage, narcissism, and self-esteem are related. The results of the study suggest that narcissism may cause addictive behaviours in young people. In substance-dependent people and groups with high self-esteem and narcissism scores, substantial narcissistic disturbances are more likely to be brought on by vulnerability than by grandiosity, according to an associative study. A few studies have found a link between reduced self-esteem and a higher propensity for addiction to persist. To regulate self-esteem and stop people from using drugs, early intervention and therapy is required in cases of narcissism.


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How to Cite

S. Priyadhersini, M. S. Kotian, and S. Sambasivan, “Narcissism and Self-Esteem as a Perspective to Substance Use in Young Adults”, IJMDES, vol. 1, no. 12, pp. 49–57, Dec. 2022.