Interpersonal Perception of Pathological Narcissism and Interpersonal Problems: A Social Relations Analysis

Open Access
Lukowitsky, Mark Richard
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 25, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Dissertation Advisor
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Committee Chair
  • Kenneth Levy, Committee Member
  • Peter Andrew Arnett, Committee Member
  • David E Conroy, Committee Member
  • narcissism
  • interpersonal problems
  • social relations model
  • informant reports
The current study aimed to gain a better understanding of interpersonal perception associated with personality pathology. A large sample of moderately acquainted individuals assigned to small groups completed the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI; Pincus, Ansell, Pimentel, Cain, Wright, & Levy, 2009) and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems-Short Circumplex (IIP-SC, Hopwood, Pincus, DeMoor, & Koonce, 2008) in a round robin design whereby each individual in the group served as both a target and judge. Kenny’s (1994) Social Relations Model (SRM) was used to partition the variance in dyadic ratings in order to investigate several hypotheses about interpersonal perception of pathological narcissism and interpersonal problems. Results indicated evidence of assimilation and consensus for pathological narcissism and interpersonal problems and modest self-other agreement on the PNI. Systematic differences in interpersonal perception were also investigated to help better understand the source of disagreement in self-other ratings of pathological narcissism. Results from three different tests suggested that although individuals high in pathological narcissism tended to report a range of interpersonal problems indicative of general interpersonal distress, peers generally tended to associate pathological narcissism in others with dominant interpersonal problems and not with general interpersonal distress. Results also indicated that individuals high in pathological narcissism tended to assimilate others according to a rather rigid set of assumptions suggesting that systematic differences in interpersonal perception may stem in part from distortions in interpersonal perception.