Pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder

Aaron L. Pincus, Mark R. Lukowitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

450 Scopus citations

Abstract

We review the literature on pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and describe a significant criterion problem related to four inconsistencies in phenotypic descriptions and taxonomic models across clinical theory, research, and practice; psychiatric diagnosis; and social/personality psychology. This impedes scientific synthesis, weakens narcissism's nomological net, and contributes to a discrepancy between low prevalence rates of NPD and higher rates of practitioner-diagnosed pathological narcissism, along with an enormous clinical literature on narcissistic disturbances. Criterion issues must be resolved, including clarification of the nature of normal and pathological narcissism, incorporation of the two broad phenotypic themes of narcissistic grandiosity and narcissistic vulnerability into revised diagnostic criteria and assessment instruments, elimination of references to overt and covert narcissism that reify these modes of expression as distinct narcissistic types, and determination of the appropriate structure for pathological narcissism. Implications for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the science of personality disorders are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-446
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 27 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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