The Narcissism Spectrum Model: A Spectrum Perspective on Narcissistic Personality

  • Zlatan KrizanEmail author


The narcissism spectrum model synthesizes extensive personality, social-psychological, and clinical evidence, to address three key, interrelated problems that have plagued narcissism scholarship for over a century. These problems can be summarized as: What are the key features of narcissism, how are they organized and interlinked, and why are they organized that way? By viewing narcissism as manifested in transactional processes between individuals and their social environments, this model integrates existing measurement and theoretical perspectives on narcissism and provides a guiding framework for future examination of its developmental pathways. Specifically, narcissism is defined as entitled self-importance, with an inflated sense of importance and deservingness marking the core phenotype. However, differences in entitlement reflect two distinct functional patterns of influence, based on approach-dominant (bold) and avoidance-dominant (reactive) personality orientations supported by reinforcing social experiences. Critically, these distinct patterns of influence yield distinct dimensions of narcissistic grandiosity (hubris and exhibitionism) and narcissistic vulnerability (resentment and defensiveness). The narcissism spectrum model builds common terminology regarding core features of narcissism, is grounded in a shared set of observations about the empirical structure of narcissistic traits, and provides a novel and comprehensive framework for integrating scholarship of narcissism with that of personality and psychopathology more broadly.


Grandiosity Vulnerability Self-importance Entitlement Boldness Reactivity 



Preparation of this chapter was partially supported by the National Science Foundation Award BCS #1525390.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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