Attention-seeking behavior is a way that a person acts to gain attention.

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Low Self-Esteem

A person with low self-esteem typically lacks confidence in themself, who they are, and what their strengths are. Without self-confidence, they may seek the attention of others to help them feel validated. People with low self-esteem may judge themselves on how they feel they’re doing in the moment rather than having a steady confidence in themselves. They may seek attention to boost how they feel in the present rather than being confident at their core.

Self-esteem can evolve throughout life. The image an individual develops of themselves may be shaped through experiences, including interactions with others. Successes, failures, and relationships may all play a role in self-esteem.

Experiences and relationships in childhood can influence self-esteem in some cases. For instance, getting appropriate, healthy attention and affectionwhen a person is young and developing can contribute to healthy self-esteem.


Jealousy can evoke attention-seeking emotional behavior. Jealousy typically occurs when someone is seeking the attention or a relationship with another person whose attentions are instead focused on someone else. Jealousy can lead to feelings of betrayal or a sense of loss. A jealous person may use attention-seeking behaviors to stay connected to the person whom they fear they are losing. (Jealousy is not the same as envy, which usually involves longing for what someone else has.)


Loneliness has been described as a gap between the social connections, relationships, and experiences a person would like to have and those they feel they’re actually experiencing.

In some cases, a person exhibiting attention-seeking behavior may be lonely. They may take attention-seeking steps to engage others and escape their own feelings of isolation.


Narcissismcan be described as an intense self-involvement. It is typically so intense that a person with narcissistic behaviors may ignore the needs of those around them. Narcissism exists on a spectrum. It can be a trait or traits that someone exhibits or can be part of larger personality disorder: narcissistic personality disorder.

A person who exhibits narcissistic traits may engage in attention-seeking behaviors to feed their ego. Their actionsand desires may revolve around getting the praise and validation they need to reinforce their own sense of self-importance. People who are narcissistic and seek attentionmight strive to be seen and recognized. They may go out of their way to come across as extra kind or important or to gain time in the spotlight, tactics that could get them the attention and admiration they crave.

A person who is narcissistic may also take negative action to gain attention. They may seek pity or rescuing as a way of remaining the center of attention.

Factitious Disorder

Factitious disorder was previously referred to as Munchausen syndrome. It is a mental health disorder in which a healthy person deceives others by trying to appear sick, purposefully getting sick, or causing self-injury. They may go so far as to alter tests so that the results show that something is wrong with them.

Like many mental health disorders, it exists on a spectrum. A person may slightly exaggerate their symptoms or health status or might do so more severely and persistently.

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