The current study examined the relationship between attachment style, self-esteem, and narcissism as they pertain to behavioral tendencies, termed love-bombing behaviors, among a sample of young adult millennials. Love-bombing was identified as the presence of excessive communication at the beginning of a romantic relationship in order to obtain power and control over another’s life as a means of narcissistic self-enhancement. Millennials have shown a drastic increase in narcissism compared to generations prior, and the need for psychological services on college campuses has also increased. This study sought to establish empirical evidence for the presence of love-bombing behaviors amongst millennials as a gateway for further research to address the problem facing young adult relationships today. The sample consisted of 484 college students from a large southern university who ranged in age from 18 to 30. Results indicated that love-bombing was positively correlated with narcissistic tendencies and insecure attachment styles (lack of trust or value in self and others), and negatively associated with self-esteem. Secure attachment was a positive indicator of love-bombing behaviors. Lastly, love-bombing was also associated with more text and media usage within romantic relationships. In conclusion, love-bombing was found to be a logical and potentially necessary strategy for romantic relationships among individuals with high displays of narcissism and low levels of self-esteem. This is the first study to empirically examine love-bombing behaviors; thus, future research should address the impact that these behaviors may have on young adult relationships. The potential for negative psychological impact on both love-bombers and the subject of their attacks are discussed.
Strutzenberg, Claire C.; Wiersma-Mosley, Jacquelyn D.; Jozkowski, Kristen N.; and Becnel, Jennifer N.
"Love-bombing: A Narcissistic Approach to Relationship Formation,"
Discovery, The Student Journal of Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 18:81-89.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uark.edu/discoverymag/vol18/iss1/14