School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Fred Volk


Narcissism, Narcissistic Admiration, Narcissistic Rivalry, Relationship Satisfaction, Mate Selection


Counseling | Psychology


This study’s purpose was to better understand how narcissistic admiration and rivalry relate to relationship satisfaction and to investigate the satisfaction found in homogamous versus heterogamous narcissistic relationships. The study explored relationship satisfaction of married participants (N = 764), as moderated by their partner’s perceived level and subtype of narcissism. It also examined direct correlations between participant narcissistic admiration and rivalry and relationship satisfaction, as well as correlations between participant and perceived partner narcissism scores. An exploratory study about how relationship length moderates the association between narcissism and relationship satisfaction was also conducted. This quantitative study featured a cross-sectional online survey disseminated via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Data analysis employed Pearson’s correlations and regression analysis using Hayes’s (2017) PROCESS macro. Overall findings indicated that narcissistic individuals often assort together and find greater satisfaction in homogamous pairings than in heterogamous ones. Admiration narcissism was positively associated with relationship satisfaction regardless of the partner’s level or subtype of narcissism. Rivalry narcissism was positively linked with relationship satisfaction if the partner was also high in rivalry. The only pairing negatively associated with satisfaction was a high rivalry participant with a low narcissism partner. Unsatisfying heterogamous pairings, therefore, may partially explain the dysfunction noted in narcissistic relationships. Length of relationship did not moderate the association between narcissism and relationship satisfaction. Future research should test both members of couples to see if results are replicated and continue efforts to understand the trajectory of narcissistic relationships.