In three studies of romantic relationships (N = 253, N = 81, and N = 98) the hypothesis was tested that high narcissists, relative to low narcissists, distort the assessment of equity in attractiveness. Narcissism was measured by the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. In Study 1 the hypothesis was confirmed. In Study 2 it was shown that although narcissism correlated significantly with self-esteem, it was the unique variance in narcissism which predicted the tendency to feel underbenefited in respect to attractiveness. Finally in Study 3, dyadic data were analyzed on the basis of the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. The data of 49 couples who lived together were included. The dyadic analysis indicated that actor narcissism exerted the expected influence on perceived inequity in attractiveness, whereas partner narcissism explained no additional variance. High narcissists felt more underbenefited than low narcissists. The analysis of dyadic data in Study 3 indicates that the link between narcissism and equity in attractiveness turns out to be an intrapersonal phenomenon because only actor narcissism, not partner narcissism, is significantly correlated with perceived inequity. In addition, partial intraclass correlations revealed that if one partner tended to feel underbenefited, the other partner tended to feel overbenefited. The results are explained on the basis of the agentic model of narcissism. All three studies consistently revealed a gender effect indicating that women felt more underbenefited than men in terms of attractiveness. © 2010 Hogrefe Publishing.
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