Examining the Interpersonal Profiles and Nomological Network Associated with Narcissistic Grandiosity and Narcissistic Vulnerability

Nicole M. Cain, Callie Jowers, Mark Blanchard, Sharon Nelson, Steven K. Huprich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Theory and research have consistently shown that pathological narcissism can best be described by 2 phenotypic expressions, narcissistic grandiosity and narcissistic vulnerability. The current study sought to examine the specific types of interpersonal problems reported by those high in narcissistic grandiosity and high in narcissistic vulnerability as well as examine the nomological network associated with these 2 manifestations of narcissism. In a sample of university students who completed self-report measures of pathological narcissism, interpersonal problems, depression, self-esteem, malignant self-regard, self-defeating personality disorder symptoms, and anger, we found that narcissistic grandiosity (n = 108) was associated with one distinct interpersonal profile, for example, being overly intrusive in relationships with others, while narcissistic vulnerability (n = 88) was associated with a wider range of interpersonal problems on the interpersonal circumplex. Using cluster analysis, we found 3 interpersonal subtypes associated with narcissistic vulnerability, an intrusive subtype, a cold subtype, and a socially avoidant subtype. Further examination of group differences showed that the 3 interpersonal subtypes associated with narcissistic vulnerability could also be distinguished based on their experience and expression of anger. This suggests the importance of assessing profiles of interpersonal functioning and anger in narcissistic vulnerability. The clinical implications of our results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalPsychopathology
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Anger
  • Interpersonal circumplex
  • Narcissistic grandiosity
  • Narcissistic vulnerability
  • Pathological narcissism

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