The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is a self-report questionnaire developed by Raskin and Hall (1979) for the measurement of narcissism as a personality trait in social psychological research.
While it is based on the definition of narcissistic personality disorder found in the DSM, it is not a diagnostic tool for NPD. Instead, it measures subclinical or borderline expressions of narcissism. So, people who score very high on the NPI may not necessarily meet all criteria for a diagnosis of NPD.
Clinicians need to stay cognisant of the fact that differences in NPI scores are typically suppressed in NPD patients’ with low self-esteem. For this reason, one needs to control for self-esteem. The NPI-40 report was developed by Dr Gary C. Townsend of Skillworx Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Why measure depression, anxiety, and stress
The NPI is the most widely used measure of narcissism in the social-personality psychology literature. It taps into a variety of traits that theoretically comprise narcissism, such as feelings of superiority and willingness to exploit others. It encompasses seven factors including: authority, exhibitionism, superiority, entitlement, exploitativeness, self-sufficiency, and vanity. The NPI-40 is constructed to not merely measure conventionally defined narcissism, but to further the process of defining, understanding, and measuring these dimensions. For this reason the NPI offers considerable value to both researchers and professional clinicians.
The NPI comprises 40 pairs of statements divided into 7 subscales of 3-8 items with similar content. The NPI assesses authority, self-sufficiency, superiority, exhibitionism, exploitativeness, vanity, and entitlement.
AUTHORITY: a person’s leadership skills and power; self-sufficiency -how much one relies on others versus ones own abilities
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: how much one relies on others versus ones own abilities
SUPERIORITY: whether a person feels they are more superior
EXHIBITIONISM: a need to be the centre of attention
EXPLOITATIVENESS: how willing one is to exploit others
VANITY: a belief in one’s own superior abilities
ENTITLEMENT: the amount of entitlement one person has
Benefits for the individual
The insights gained from the NPI-40 assessment provide an objective idea of the presence or absence of Narcissism. High scores on the NPI-40 are not diagnostic in nature but does indicate a propensity for narcissistic tendencies in the individual and will assist the clinician, and individual being assessed, with supplementary information regarding the decision to further explore the condition with a formal clinical interview. Similarly, low scores on the NPI-40 should not be seen as a substitute for not pursuing a comprehensive clinical interview should there be other corroborating information suggesting so.
When analysing these traits, it is important to consider which traits are dominant. For example, an overall score that reflects more points on vanity, entitlement, exhibitionism and exploitiveness is more cause for concern than someone who scores high on authority, self-sufficiency and superiority.
NPI-40 Personal Report
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