Comparing Clinical and Social-Personality Conceptualizations of Narcissism


  • We would like to thank Jennifer Broe, Allison Turner, and Anna Vandenberg for their assistance in conducting this research.

concerning this article should be addressed to Joshua D. Miller, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013. E-mail:


ABSTRACT There is a lack of consensus surrounding the conceptualization of narcissism. The present study compared two measures of narcissism—one used in clinical settings (Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire, PDQ-4+; Hyler, 1994) and one used in social-personality research (Narcissistic Personality Inventory, NPI; Raskin & Terry, 1988)—across two samples. Sample 1 (N=271) was composed of undergraduates, whereas Sample 2 (N=211) was composed of parents of the Sample 1 participants. The scales were significantly interrelated but manifested divergent relations with general personality traits, personality disorders (including expert prototypal ratings of narcissism), recollections of parenting received, and psychological distress and self-esteem. PDQ-4 narcissism captured an emotionally unstable, negative-affect-laden, and introverted variant of narcissism; NPI narcissism captured an emotionally resilient, extraverted form. The clinical and social-personality conceptualizations of narcissism primarily share a tendency to use an antagonistic interpersonal style. Implications for the DSM-V are discussed.