Narcissistic Personality Disorder: The Diagnostic Process

Elsa Ronningstam

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality Disorders

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199735013
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: The Diagnostic Process


The diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) evolving over the past 40 years within several fields of inquiry—clinical and psychoanalytic as well as psychiatric and empirical—is discussed in this chapter. The inclusion of NPD as a separate personality disorder in the latest proposal of DSM-5 has warranted continuing studies and development of the diagnosis and treatment of pathological narcissism and NPD. Specific focus is on capturing the complexity of narcissistic pathology, identifying narcissistic core traits in the context of regulatory and dynamic variability, and incorporating the functional and phenotypic range of NPD. The diagnostic process, that is, identifying narcissistic traits in a collaborative alliance-building context between patient and clinician, aims at establishing a meaningful diagnosis that can inform patient and relatives and serve to guide treatment. Concluding guidelines for enhancing accuracy and meaningfulness of the NPD diagnosis are proposed.

Keywords: narcissistic personality disorder; pathological narcissism; self-esteem; emotional regulation; aggression; shame; perfectionism; self-disclosure

Article.  13551 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »