Vulnerable narcissism and body image centrality in cosplay practice: A sequential mediation model

Francesca Gioia, Martina De Clemente, Santa Parrello, Valentina Boursier


In recent years, the cosplay practice has become a ubiquitous activity, representing a pivotal way to get in touch with the so-called geek culture and its media content (such as videogames, comics, manga). Cosplaying appeared related to narcissistic fragility which in turn is strictly linked to social appearance anxiety and self-objectification experiences. However, despite the body image centrality in cosplay practice, no studies evaluated cosplayers’ narcissistic vulnerability in association with these body image-related issues. A total of 926 young adults (73.2% female; 47.3% cosplayer; mean age=25.3 years) participated in the study. Results confirmed the direct and indirect effect of narcissistic vulnerability on social appearance anxiety (via body surveillance and body shame) among both cosplayers and non-cosplayers. Overall, narcissistically vulnerable individuals, regardless of their involvement in cosplay practice, seem to experience higher body surveillance and body shame, which in turn might promote social appearance anxiety.


Cosplay; Vulnerable narcissism; Self-objectification; Social appearance anxiety.

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