NARCISSISM: THE MERCURIAL PERSONALITY TRAIT.
During our lifespan, we come across hundreds of people and all of them as we know and believe are individuals; one different from another. Our personality encompasses a multitude of traits, behaviours, feelings and emotions and of the plethora of these traits, one that I think is intriguing is Narcissism. Known to be a trait that dwells within every kind of person be it a celebrity or a businessman, a man or a woman, narcissism is generally defined as “having a highly positive or inflated self-concept, a strong need to be admired by others, fantasizing about fame or power, responding to criticism with self-enhancing attribution, being condescending toward others, and lacking commitment and caring in interpersonal relationships” (Campbell, Rudich, & Sedikides, 2002; Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). A single measure cannot effectively study narcissism because being a multidimensional trait; is difficult to capture all of its facets under one method of measurement. Methods include: The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), structured interviews for DSM personality disorders, personality disorder examination, self-report measures, personality diagnostic questionnaires, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) - personality disorder scales, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI), projective techniques, and Thematic Apperception Tests etc. Most measures of narcissism depend extensively on self-reports which leaves a gaping hole regarding validity and reliability (Hilsenroth et al., 1996). As mentioned above, there are ample ways of measuring narcissism. Therefore, there have been studies which try validating these measures by correlating results for narcissism between studies in order to see if they measured the trait well. They showed moderately strong correlations but not strong enough, that we might incur a problem of co-linearity. Furthermore, by assessing the same trait with multiple scales and then checking between the results gives us a fairly good idea of whether these methods, especially popular ones such as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory scales measure the trait effectively (Cramer, 2011). Several studies were conducted validating the NPI including Auerbach (1984), who found that NPI highly correlated with the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) in a sample of undergraduate students (Millon, 1982). Prifitera and Ryan (1984) also found the MCMI to be correlated with the NPI in a population of clinically diagnosed narcissistic individuals. Many other studies validating the NPI as a measure of narcissism were also conducted (Emmons, 1984, 1987; Raskin & Hall, 1981; Raskin & Terry, 1988; Watson, Grisham, Trotter, & Biderman, 1984). Generally, studies in psychology related to personality traits in particular, tend to summarize results with relation to the Big Five. A particular study in narcissism by Munro and others shows positive correlations of narcissism with aloof behaviour, negatively correlated with empathy and moderately correlated with anxiety and Conscientiousness. We also observe a weak to moderate correlation with Neuroticism. There was also a strong negative correlation between narcissism and Agreeableness. Furthermore, relatively weaker negative correlations were found between narcissism and Extraversion and Openness (Munro, et al., 2005). In our quest to understand ourselves and the people around us better, we usually look at many different factors upon which we segregate a particular study of interest. For example, gender differences are a particularly popular parameter that is used to study personality traits. In relation to narcissism, we see a clear difference between men and women in the area of courtship violence. General findings suggested that, firstly, narcissistic couples tend to engage more in physical assault and sexual coercion than normal couples....
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