Why narcissists are more likely to break the rules of sport

Good sport, bad sport

Narcissists are highly ambitious individuals with unusually high self-expectations in all walks of life. In sport, one might consider these to be essential ingredients for reaching and performing at the highest level. However, combine them with a lack of empathy for others and the self-obsession that is typical of narcissism and it produces a darker side.

Our research into sportsmen and women across a number of team sports found that people with narcissistic character traits are more likely to be detached from morality and are prone to anti-sporting behaviours. They are also more likely to break the rules to achieve their own personal goals, ahead of the team’s needs, because winning – above playing fair – means everything to them. They will justify any actions beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour, because these actions, however unacceptable, will help them to reach their ultimate personal goal of appearing glorious in the eyes of others.

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