Clinical Correlates of Vulnerable and Grandiose Narcissism: A Personality Perspective
Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, Brandon Weiss, MA, Joshua D. Miller, PhD, and W. Keith Campbell, PhD
There is broad consensus that there are at least two different dimensions
of narcissism: vulnerable and grandiose. In this study, the authors use a new trifurcated, three-factor model of narcissism to examine relations between aspects of narcissism and an array of clinically relevant criteria related to psychopathology, the self, authenticity, and well-being. Neurotic and antagonistic aspects of narcissism emerged as the most clinically relevant dimensions of narcissism, bearing relations with outcomes relating to interpersonal guilt, insecure attachment styles, cognitive distortions, maladaptive defense mechanisms, experiential avoidance, impostor syndrome, weak sense of self, inauthenticity, low self-esteem, and reduced psychological well-being. Grandiose narcissism was not correlated with most forms of psychopathology and was even positively associated with life satisfaction. Nevertheless, a surprising link was found between grandiose narcissism and multiple indicators of inauthenticity. Implications for the appropriate conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of pathological narcissism are discussed.