Profiling pathological narcissism according to DSM-5 domains and traits: A study on consecutively admitted Italian psychotherapy patients

Andrea Fossati, Antonella Somma, Serena Borroni, Aaron L. Pincus, Kristian E. Markon, Robert F. Krueger

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22 Scopus citations


Pathological narcissism represents a clinically relevant, albeit controversial personality construct, with multiple conceptualizations that are operationalized by different measures. Even in the recently published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (DSM-5), 2 different views of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are formulated (i.e., Section II and Section III). The DSM-5 Section III alternative PD model diagnosis of NPD is based on self and interpersonal dysfunction (Criterion A) and a profile of maladaptive personality traits (Criterion B), specifically elevated scores on Attention Seeking and Grandiosity. Given the diversity of conceptualizations of pathological narcissism, we evaluated the convergences and divergences in DSM-5 trait profiles characterizing multiple measures of narcissism in a clinical sample of 278 consecutively admitted Italian psychotherapy patients. Patients were administered the Italian versions of the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5) and 4 measures of NPD, (a) the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI); (b) the NPD scale of the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4+ ; (c) the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis II Personality Disorders, Version 2.0 (SCID-II) as an observer-rated measure of NPD; and (d) the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI). Multiple regression analyses showed that PID-5 traits explained from 13% to more than 60% of the variance in the different NPD measures. Attention Seeking was consistently associated with all measures of NPD, whereas Grandiosity was associated with some of the NPD measures. All measures of NPD were also significantly related to additional DSM-5 maladaptive traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1400-1411
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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