AN INTEGRATIVE TWO-DIMENSIONAL MODEL OF NORMAL AND PATHOLOGICAL NARCISSISM TO RECONCILE THE SCHISM BETWEEN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL-PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY

Open Access
Author:
Roche, Michael J
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 12, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Thesis Advisor
  • David A. Rosenbaum, Thesis Advisor
  • Stephen Jeffrey Wilson, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • narcissism
  • assessment
  • personality
  • clinical psychology
Abstract:
The conceptualization and assessment of narcissism is inconsistent across research disciplines, leading to a criterion problem which weakens the nomological net. Clinical psychology commonly considers narcissism to be a pathological personality characteristic (e.g., Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and employs measures targeted at assessing maladaptive narcissistic functioning and outcomes. Narcissism is also a widely studied personality trait in social-personality psychology. However, this large literature, mainly employing the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), often suggests narcissism is a relatively adaptive personality trait associated with mental health. I offer an integrative approach suggesting that normal narcissism and pathological narcissism are distinct personality dimensions. The present research examined the associations of two narcissism inventories, the NPI (a social-personality measure) and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (a clinical measure) across the psychologically meaningful domains of developmental antecedents, personality, self conscious emotions, adjustment, and externalizing problems and found a pattern of convergent and divergent external correlations establishing each as an adequate measure of normal and pathological narcissism respectively. An integrative two-dimensional model of normal and pathological narcissism is constructed from the narcissism scores from each measure to demonstrate the utility of the proposed nomological net. Conceptualizing the nature of narcissism as two distinct but theoretically related dimensions (normal, pathological), organizes a variety of important personality, psychopathology, and affective constructs in a theoretically synthetic and clinically meaningful way.