A two-step cluster analytic strategy was used in two studies to identify an empirically derived typology of narcissism in late adolescence. In Study 1, late adolescents (N = 204) responded to the profile of narcissistic dispositions and measures of grandiosity ("superiority") and idealization ("goal instability") inspired by Kohut's theory, along with several College Adjustment Scales and a measure of pathology of separation-individuation. Cluster analysis revealed three clusters: covert narcissists (N = 71), moderate narcissists (N = 55) and overt narcissists (N = 74). Moderate narcissists had significantly lower means scores on indices of anxiety, relationship problem, depression, esteem- and family problems and pathology of separation-individuation. The overt and covert clusters showed comparable levels of dysfunction on most indices of adjustment. This general pattern was replicated in Study 2 (N = 210). Moderate narcissists showed a uniform profile of good adjustment, whereas covert and overt narcissist clusters showed a pervasive pattern of dysfunction. Results support the claim that narcissism has "two faces" and that a moderate degree of narcissism is associated with fewer adjustment problems or psychological symptoms. Directions for future research are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health