The impact of pathological narcissism on psychotherapy utilization, initial symptom severity, and early-treatment symptom change: A naturalistic investigation

William D. Ellison, Kenneth N. Levy, Nicole M. Cain, Emily B. Ansell, Aaron L. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The impact of pathological narcissism on psychotherapy has seldom been investigated empirically, despite extensive clinical theory proposing that highly narcissistic individuals should be reluctant to engage in treatment and derive smaller benefits from therapy. In this study, we investigate the relationship between scores on the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI; Pincus et al., 2009), which assesses both narcissistic grandiosity and narcissistic vulnerability, and clinical variables in a sample of outpatients (N = 60) at a community mental health center. Results indicated that grandiosity, but not vulnerability, was negatively related to the use of adjunctive services and positively predicted client-initiated termination of psychotherapy. In addition, grandiosity and vulnerability were related to initial levels of different symptoms in multilevel models using a subsample (n = 41) but not generally related to the linear rate of symptom change in early psychotherapy. The results highlight the clinical utility of assessing pathological narcissism in a real-world psychotherapeutic context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-300
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Volume95
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of pathological narcissism on psychotherapy utilization, initial symptom severity, and early-treatment symptom change: A naturalistic investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this