In Egan et al.’s study, participants rated themselves on a general personality test that provided ratings on the “Big Five” or “Five Factor” traits of Extroversion, Emotional Stability/Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness. They also rated their “Dark Triad” personality qualities. Their subjective well-being was assessed with one scale measuring happiness and another measuring their satisfaction with life.
After condensing and analyzing the scores on all of these measures, Egan’s team was able to identify 4 groups within the sample—vulnerable narcissists; grandiose narcissists; a group identified by their overall unhappiness; and, finally, one identified by overall happiness and low narcissism scores.
Comparing the two groups of narcissists, Egan and colleagues found that the grandiose narcissists tended to be happier, more extroverted, and more emotionally stable. The vulnerable narcissists were less agreeable, less emotionally stable, and higher in the other Dark Triad traits of manipulativeness and psychopathy.