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Flashcards in Task 5 Narcissism Deck (35)
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General description

Individuals act in a dramatic manner, seek admiration from others and are shallow in their emotional expressions and relationships with other. Furthermore they rely on their inflated self-evaluations



in US 7.7% men and 4.8% of women, international (lecture) 1%
o Might rise in younger adults because of social and economic conditions that support more extreme versions of self-focused individualism


Psychodynamical theories

symptoms of narcissistic PD are maladaptive strategies for managing emotions and self-views
o Rely on the praise and domination of others for their self-esteem


Cognitive theories

Some people with narcissism develop unrealistically positive assumptions about their self-worth as the result of indulgence and overvaluation by significant others during childhood
o Other might develop it as defence against rejection or unmet basic needs by important people in their live



o Tend to not seek treatment except when they develop depression or have interpersonal problems
o Cognitive techniques: can help clients develop more realistic expectations of their abilities and more sensitivity to the need of others
o Schema therapy


DMS-5 original model

• Describes a pervasive patterns of grandiosity, need for admiration and lack of empathy arising in early adulthood and present in variety of context, indicated by five or more of the following:
o A grandiose sense of self-importance
o Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success power brilliance beauty or ideal love
o Beliefs of being special and unique
o Requirements of excessive administration
o A sense of entitlement
o Interpersonal exploitativeness
o Lack of empathy
o Envy of others
o Arrogant, haughty behaviour or attitudes


Limitations of original model

o Inconsistencies in the conceptualization of narcissism, including variants describing its nature (normal, pathological), phenotype (grandiosity, vulnerability), expression (overt, covert) and structure (category, dimension, prototype)
o Less impairing compared to other PDs, raising issues regarding its clinical significance
o Only modest research base
o Features of NPD were not statistically grounded, but appeared to be scattered across other symptom clusters
o Only focuses on the grandiosity narcissism


Alternative model

o Categorical-dimensional hybrid model
 Combination of already existing criteria and dimensional system
o Criterion A: impairment in personality (self/interpersonal) need to fulfil two or more
 Self-functioning: involves identity and self-direction
 Interpersonal functioning: involves empathy and intimacy
 Measured in 5 levels of impairment (0 no 4 full)
o Criterion B: the presence of one or more pathological personality traits
 Five broad domains: Negative affectivity, detachment, antagonism, disinhibition and psychoticism
• Within these there are 25 specific trait facets
o Criterion C: The impairments in personality functioning and personality trait expression are relatively inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations
o Criterion D: relatively stable over time with onset that can be traced back to at least adolescence or early adulthood
o Criterion E: not better explained by another mental disorder
o Criterion F: not attributable to a substance or another medical condition
o Criterion G: not better understood as normal for an individual’s development stage or sociocultural environment


Diagnostic criteria for NPD (alternative model)

 Typical features of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are variable and vulnerable self-esteem, with attempts at regulation through attention- and approval-seeking, and either overt or covert grandiosity. Characteristic difficulties are apparent in identity, self-direction, empathy, and/or intimacy, as described below, along with specific maladaptive traits in the domain of Antagonism
 A Moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifest by characteristic difficulties in two or more of the following four areas
• Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem
• Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations
• Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others
• Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain
 B Both of the following pathological personality traits
• Grandiosity (an aspect of Antagonism): Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others
• Attention seeking: an aspect of Antagonism: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking



inheritance, temperament, psychological trauma and age inappropriate role assignments
o Prefrontal grey matter: Associated with emotional regulation, when small poor regulation
 Compromised empathic ability
o Insula: pain perception which is related to empathy


Early signs in childhood

include primarily dismissing, i.e., contemptuous derogation and/or brittle idealization of attachment figures, anxious and avoidant, especially related to narcissistic vulnerability, or cannot classify with multiple, unintegrated attachment alternating between dismissing, devaluating, and angry or overwhelmed preoccupation


Grandiose narcissists

copes with difficulties in self-esteem by viewing himself as superior and unique and by engaging in grandiose fantasies
o Tend to be: entitled, exploitative, envious and aggressive particularly when distressed


Vulnerable narcissist

Copes with difficulties in self-esteem by engaging in grandiose fantasies to quell their intense shame
o Hypersensitive to rejection and criticism and thus avoid others


Game playing love style

O Starting a relationship by charm, keep it as less intimate as possible, still look for other partners, if relationship ends transition to a new one is easier
O They get what they want while avoiding what they not want


Self-regulation strategy

try to accomplish self-enhancement or maintenance of esteem by seeking and expressing superiority to or dominance over others



they seek status and self-esteem rather than intimacy or caring
O Rate themselves as superior
O Less commitment
 Might be caused by perception of elevated alternatives to the relationship


Goals in interaction with others

esteem, status/power and sex


Principle of least interest

maintaining alternative partners or keeping one’s partner uncertain about one’s commitment
 The individual less interested has the most power


Need for power

Significant correlation with ludus and narcissism


Need for autonomy in relationships

Significant correlation with ludus and narcissism


Link between need for autonomy and power and NPD

It appears that the link between narcissism and ludus is mediated by both of these needs


Role of commitment

O Strong negative relation between male narcissists and agape (not for women)
O Commitment: Ludus acts as mediator for commitment of a narcissist
O Mediational role of ludus on Alternatives and attention to alternatives:
 Ludus acts as mediator for alternatives and attention to alternatives in narcissists
 The link between narcissists ludic love styles and commitment was partially but not fully explained by alternatives


Aggressive behaviour in NPD

• Combination of narcissism and social rejection is a powerful predictor of aggressive behaviour
• Narcissism is generally linked to more aggressive behaviour
• Violence was often a response to ego threats by persons with inflated self-views


Failure feedback

o After receiving failure feedback narcissistic persons were more likely to show direct aggression and displaced aggression


Study 1

o Anger is positively correlated with narcissism and internalized negative effects negatively after social rejection


Study 2

o Aims to tackle the possibility that narcissists simply don’t want to talk about situations that made them experience internalized negative emotions
 Laboratory settings
o Results: Narcissists demonstrate more anger after social rejection
 Did not show aggression after being accepted, even showed less internalized emotions after accepted


Study 3

same as 2 but they could punish people with a loud noise (variable duration and intensity)
o Results: Narcissism leads to higher aggression even with and without self-esteem controlled
 They are also more behavioural aggressive toward people who have rejected them


Study 4

displaced aggression (aggression against an innocent third party)
Narcissists were more aggressive even against an innocent third party
 Even when self-esteem and gender were statistically controlled
o Limitation: innocent party was a student from the same university
 Might be caused by group rejection


Emotional detachment

both from their own feeling and the feelings that they can perceive and/or evoke in others


Problems in emotional processing regulation

o Feel a feeling
o Tolerate the nature and/or intensity of a feeling
o Identify and verbalize a feeling
o Identify the physiological/visceral indications of an affect and translate them into emotional experiences
o Integrating ones own feeling and intention into an interpersonal context