Clinical Psychology 5 (2012), 1-2, 21-36


Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder – A Review of Current Research

Doris Čuržik - Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb, Zagreb
Nenad Jakšić - Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 21-36).pdf

In this review paper we discuss a more recent conceptualization of narcissistic traits that vary in degree of individual’s personality adaptiveness. While a milder representation of these qualities is considered a protective factor against self-confidence issues and lowered mood, pathological variants certainly lead to dysfunctional behavior patterns, increased stress and comorbid psychiatric conditions. In clinical psychology and psychiatry this is best known as narcissistic personality disorder although these diagnostic criteria probably don’t include the whole range of problematic traits and behaviors which are characteristic of persons suffering from pathological narcissism. In fact, numerous clinical observations and recent empirical studies show a broader picture of pathological narcissism with emphasis on the grandiose and vulnerable features of this disorder, which is particularly relevant because of the modifications which are expected in the new edition of the DSM-V. Unfortunately, official classification criteria overemphasize the grandiose type which is at odds with research findings that recently led to constructions of psychological instruments intended for testing two-factor structure of pathological narcissism. Furthermore, attempts to determine the etiological factors underlying narcissistic personality disorder did not lead to consistent empirical findings and models and this entire area is characterized by excessive paradigmatic disagreements, primarily between the psychodynamic and cognitive perspectives. Also, there are indications of broader cultural influences on narcissistic traits that are more widespread in Western societies.

narcissism, pathological narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic etiology

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