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Subtypes, Dimensions, Levels, and Mental States in Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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Please address correspondence to: Kenneth N. Levy, Department of Psychology, 362 Bruce V. Moore Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: klevy@psu.edu

Abstract

Various conceptualizations of subtypes, levels, and dimensions of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are considered with a particular focus on overt grandiose presentations and covert vulnerable presentations. Evidence supporting this distinction and clinical vignettes to illustrate it are presented as well as their implications for clinical work with NPD patients. The research and clinical evidence points to the conclusion that these broad categorical subtypes are better conceptualized as dimensions on which individual patients vary on relative levels, thus suggesting that grandiose and vulnerable presentations represent two sides of the same coin. A case example and clinical implications are provided and discussed.

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