Using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (the NPI), researchers like Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell measure non-clinical narcissism.
Measuring narcissism as a universal personality trait means someone may be A Narcissist if their score on the NPI exceeds average social norms. The NPI is not measuring pathology. The NPI only shows that someone has high narcissistic traits in comparison to most people. The degree of their narcissism might be 'unhealthy' which in most cases means they have difficulties retaining relationships. However, 'a narcissist', as defined by a high score on the NPI, may be able to improve the egotistical behaviors and traits that causing relational problems. If someone gets a high score on the NPI, then they should consult with a clinical psychologist who can determine treatment---if needed. Remember:
A narcissistic personality is not a Narcissistic Personality Disorder!
Social research measures the degree of narcissistic traits in a 'non-clinical' personality. Someone with a narcissistic personality (not 'personality disorder') may be capable of sustaining relationships, forming intimate bonds with others, and excelling in the workplace. In other words, they empathize with others to some degree, are capable of compassion, guilt, remorse and loyalty. They also appreciate social values contributing to healthy relationships and mental health---values which temper unhealthy narcissism. However, they may be perceived as arrogant, pompous, overly focused on image or ‘self’ and invested in getting whatever they want at other people's expense.
All narcissists are hard to live with requiring empathic partners who are also willing to restrict the narcissist's selfishness by setting boundaries on entitlement and self-serving strategies. When narcissists are called on their bad behavior, they may be able to resolve unhealthy narcissism IF they are able to empathize and IF they value relationships and IF they have the capacity to introspect, grieve, mourn and resolve the problems their self-admiration is causing.
“People with healthy levels of narcissism are also able to step outside their own perspective long enough to assess how their behavior may be affecting others around them. This ability to avoid becoming stuck in narcissistic mode, and to consider the impact of your actions on the feelings of others, is one of the key distinctions between healthy and extreme levels of narcissism.” ~Drew Pinsky, (page 90, The Mirror Effect)
NOTE: Also, an excessively low score on the NPI isn't necessarily a good thing. It might indicate a lack of healthy narcissism. Establishing intimate, successful, and satisfying relationships will increase your self-worth. To a non-narcissist, community is valuable so establish relationships with people who are not narcissistic to rebuild your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory
By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY
Authors Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young, a professor of entertainment business at the University of Southern California have studied celebrities and the general population by administering a widely used screening tool called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which is included in The Mirror Effect.
The book advises answering the 40 questions below in a single sitting, without asking for help or clarification. It notes, "There's no such thing as a good or bad result on this test. Scoring high on the narcissism inventory, or high on any of the component categories, doesn't mean you have a disorder, or that you're a good or bad person."
Print this out or track your choices of which statements best match you — then test your friends, family, that guy at the office — anyone who's narcissism score you want to know.
1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.
B. I am not good at influencing people.
2. A. Modesty doesn't become me.
B. I am essentially a modest person.
3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare.
B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.
4. A. When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed.
B. I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so.
5. A. The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.
B. If I ruled the world it would be a better place.
6. A. I can usually talk my way out of anything.
B. I try to accept the consequences of my behavior.
7. A. I prefer to blend in with the crowd.
B. I like to be the center of attention.
8. A. I will be a success.
B. I am not too concerned about success.
9. A. I am no better or worse than most people.
B. I think I am a special person.
10. A. I am not sure if I would make a good leader.
B. I see myself as a good leader.
11. A. I am assertive.
B. I wish I were more assertive.
12. A. I like to have authority over other people.
B. I don't mind following orders.
13. A. I find it easy to manipulate people.
B. I don't like it when I find myself manipulating people.
14. A. I insist upon getting the respect that is due me.
B. I usually get the respect that I deserve.
15. A. I don't particularly like to show off my body.
B. I like to show off my body.
16. A. I can read people like a book.
B. People are sometimes hard to understand.
17. A. If I feel competent I am willing to take responsibility for making decisions.
B. I like to take responsibility for making decisions.
18. A. I just want to be reasonably happy.
B. I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world.
19. A. My body is nothing special.
B. I like to look at my body.
20. A. I try not to be a show off.
B. I will usually show off if I get the chance.
21. A. I always know what I am doing.
B. Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing.
22. A. I sometimes depend on people to get things done.
B. I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done.
23. A. Sometimes I tell good stories.
B. Everybody likes to hear my stories.
24. A. I expect a great deal from other people.
B. I like to do things for other people.
25. A. I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve.
B. I take my satisfactions as they come.
26. A. Compliments embarrass me.
B. I like to be complimented.
27. A. I have a strong will to power.
B. Power for its own sake doesn't interest me.
28. A. I don't care about new fads and fashions.
B. I like to start new fads and fashions.
29. A. I like to look at myself in the mirror.
B. I am not particularly interested in looking at myself in the mirror.
30. A. I really like to be the center of attention.
B. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention.
31. A. I can live my life in any way I want to.
B. People can't always live their lives in terms of what they want.
32. A. Being an authority doesn't mean that much to me.
B. People always seem to recognize my authority.
33. A. I would prefer to be a leader.
B. It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.
34. A. I am going to be a great person.
B. I hope I am going to be successful.
35. A. People sometimes believe what I tell them.
B. I can make anybody believe anything I want them to.
36. A. I am a born leader.
B. Leadership is a quality that takes a long time to develop.
37. A. I wish somebody would someday write my biography.
B. I don't like people to pry into my life for any reason.
38. A. I get upset when people don't notice how I look when I go out in public.
B. I don't mind blending into the crowd when I go out in public.
39. A. I am more capable than other people.
B. There is a lot that I can learn from other people.
40. A. I am much like everybody else.
B. I am an extraordinary person.
SCORING KEY: Assign one point for each response that matches the key.
1, 2 and 3: A
4, 5: B
9, 10: B
11, 12, 13, 14: A
17, 18, 19, 20: B
22, 23: B
24, 25: A
29, 30, 31: A
33, 34: A
36, 37, 38, 39: A
"The average score for the general population is 15.3. The average score for celebrities is 17.8. Pinsky says he scored 16.
Young says it is important to consider which traits are dominant. For example, an overall score that reflects more points on vanity, entitlement, exhibitionism and exploitiveness is more cause for concern than someone who scores high on authority, self-sufficiency and superiority, he says." (see Resource article)
The seven component traits by question:
• Authority: 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 32, 33, 36
• Self-sufficiency: 17, 21, 22, 31, 34, 39
• Superiority: 4, 9, 26, 37, 40
• Exhibitionism: 2, 3, 7, 20, 28, 30, 38
• Exploitativeness: 6, 13, 16, 23, 35
• Vanity: 15, 19, 29
• Entitlement: 5, 14, 18, 24, 25, 27