Interpersonal perception of pathological narcissism: A social relations analysis

Mark R. Lukowitsky, Aaron L. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Impairments in self and interpersonal functioning are core features of personality pathology. Clinical theory and research indicate that compromised self-awareness and distorted interpersonal perceptions are particularly prominent in individuals exhibiting pathological narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Therefore we conducted a study to gain a better understanding of interpersonal perception of pathological narcissism. A large sample (N = 437) of moderately acquainted individuals assigned to 1 of 93 small mixed-sex groups completed self- and informant ratings on the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI) in a round-robin design. The social relations model (SRM) was used to partition the variance in dyadic ratings to investigate several hypotheses about interpersonal perception of pathological narcissism. SRM analyses demonstrated evidence of assimilation (the tendency to perceive and rate others similarly) and consensus (the extent to which multiple observers form similar impressions of another person) in interpersonal perception of pathological narcissism. Results also indicated modest self-other agreement and assumed similarity (the tendency for people to perceive others as similar to themselves) for PNI higher order factors and subscale ratings. Finally, results suggested that individuals high in pathological narcissism had some awareness of how peers would rate them (metaperception) but believed that others would rate them similarly to how they rated themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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