Initial Construction and Validation of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory

Aaron L. Pincus, Emily Ansell, Claudia A. Pimentel, Nicole M. Cain, Aidan G C Wright, Kenneth N. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

548 Scopus citations

Abstract

The construct of narcissism is inconsistently defined across clinical theory, social-personality psychology, and psychiatric diagnosis. Two problems were identified that impede integration of research and clinical findings regarding narcissistic personality pathology: (a) ambiguity regarding the assessment of pathological narcissism vs. normal narcissism and (b) insufficient scope of existing narcissism measures. Four studies are presented documenting the initial derivation and validation of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI). The PNI is a 52-item self-report measure assessing 7 dimensions of pathological narcissism spanning problems with narcissistic grandiosity (Entitlement Rage, Exploitativeness, Grandiose Fantasy, Self-sacrificing Self-enhancement) and narcissistic vulnerability (Contingent Self-esteem, Hiding the Self, Devaluing). The PNI structure was validated via confirmatory factor analysis. The PNI correlated negatively with self-esteem and empathy, and positively with shame, interpersonal distress, aggression, and borderline personality organization. Grandiose PNI scales were associated with vindictive, domineering, intrusive, and overly-nurturant interpersonal problems, and vulnerable PNI scales were associated with cold, socially avoidant, and exploitable interpersonal problems. In a small clinical sample, PNI scales exhibited significant associations with parasuicidal behavior, suicide attempts, homicidal ideation, and several aspects of psychotherapy utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-379
Number of pages15
JournalPsychological Assessment
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009

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Keywords

  • narcissistic grandiosity
  • narcissistic vulnerability
  • Pathological Narcissism Inventory
  • scale construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Pincus, A. L., Ansell, E., Pimentel, C. A., Cain, N. M., Wright, A. G. C., & Levy, K. N. (2009). Initial Construction and Validation of the Pathological Narcissism Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 21(3), 365-379. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016530