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  • While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, adequately describes narcissistic personality disorder, it does not, however, offer much in terms of explaining its development in individuals.
  • John Bowlby believed that attachments formed during childhood have an undeniable impact on adult psychopathy, and his idea was furthered by the work of Mary Ainsworth and her development of the different attachment styles (Feist & Feist, 2009). Attachment theory works on the premise that the relationship style between a parent and child can be either secure or insecure (Lyddon & Sherry, 2001).
  • Heinz Kohut suggested that narcissistic personality disorder develops when parents are neglectful, devaluing, or unempathetic towards the child, while Theodore Millon maintains that it actually develops from “unrealistic parental overvaluation” (Butcher, Minneka, & Hooley, 2010, p. 354).
  • There have been a multitude of other arguments made as to the risk factors associated with the development of NPD, and they generally deal primarily with environmental and family factors. While there are many different factors, the overall consensus is that major loss and major abuse are the two biggest contributors.
  • While some research has focused on the possible genetic, personality traits, and neurological aspects that may contribute to the development of NPD, it is, as of yet, hardly concrete.
  • Based on the previously mentioned research, it is evident that there is a multitude of possible risk factors that may play a role in the development of NPD. There is still, however, a broad area that remains inadequately researched. A more in-depth analysis of the role of genetics and inborn personality traits play, and how they interact with previously mentioned risk factors is needed. Knowledge of the risk factors involved can be helpful in identifying possible preventative interventions, therapeutic treatments, and drug options.
  • It is very apparent that more research is needed for this difficult personality disorder. After all, in order to properly treat NPD, it is imperative to figure out what’s behind its development first (Kluger & Song, 2003).

Review Paper Review Paper Presentation Transcript

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: What’s To Blame? Rebecca Brandt Argosy University
  • Outline
    • Overview of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
    • Contributing Risk Factors
      • Childhood Attachment Style
      • Parenting Styles
      • Environmental and Family
      • Individual Risk Factors
      • Genetic and Inborn Personality Traits
    • Future Research
    • Conclusion
    • References
  • Overview of NPD
    • Cluster B Personality Disorder
      • Pervasive pattern of grandiosity
      • Need for admiration
      • Lack of empathy
      • Sense of entitlement
    • Exact cause is unknown
    • Very difficult to treat
  • Contributing Risk Factors: Childhood Attachment Style
    • Research shows insecure attachments is a risk factor
      • The more negative the attachment, the more serious the symptoms (Ling & Qian, 2010).
      • Personality disorder patients have a higher likelihood of having an insecure attachment than secure (Brennan and Shaver 1998).
      • NPD is one of three personality disorders most associated with dimensions of insecure attachment (Lyddon & Sherry, 2001).
  • Contributing Risk Factors: Parenting Styles
    • Research has shown the risks of parenting styles
      • The case study of an 8-year-old girl that was developing narcissistic characteristics showed parental neglect as the cause (Hamilton, Fowler, Hersh, Austin, Finn, Tharinger, Parton, Stahl, & Arora, 2009).
      • Unequal parental treatment and parental favoritism increased risk (Finzi-Dottan & Cohen, 2011).
      • Parental pampering, mainly overindulgence, correlates with narcissistic characteristics (Capron, 2004).
  • Contributing Risk Factors: Environmental and Family
    • Research has shown various environmental, family, and individual risk factors
      • Early childhood experiences play a huge role (Cohen, 1996).
      • Major loss and major abuse are the two strongest risk factors (Laporte & Guttman, 1996).
  • Contributing Risk Factors: Individual
    • Research has linked several individual factors to NPD
      • Oldest born children are more likely to develop than younger siblings (Finzi-Dottan & Cohen, 2011).
      • Occurs more frequently in males (Maniacci, 2007).
  • Possible Risk Factors: Genetic and Inborn Personality Traits
    • The involvement of genetics, inborn personality traits, and neurological factors have all been questioned (Kluger & Song, 2003).
  • Future Research
    • Previous research has shown many different risk factors.
    • Future research needs to focus on furthering what is already known and developing a more in-depth understanding of the role that genetics and personality traits plays, as well.
  • Conclusions
    • The definite cause of NPD is unknown and it is very difficult to treat.
    • There are a multitude of possible risk factors associated with NPD.
    • More research is needed.
  • References
    • Brennan, K. A., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Attachment styles and personality disorders: Their connection to each other and to parental divorce, parental death, and perceptions of parental caregiving. Journal of Personality, 66(5), 835-878. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.
    • Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M. (2010). Abnormal psychology (14 th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
    • Capron, E. W. (2004). Types of pampering and the narcissistic personality trait. Journal of Individual Psychology, 60(1), 76-93. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.
    • Cohen, P. (1996). Childhood risks for young adult symptoms of personality disorder: Method and substance. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 31(1), 121-148. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.
    • Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7 th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
    • Finzi-Dottan, R., & Cohen, O. (2011). Young adult sibling relations: The effects of perceived parental favoritism and narcissism. Journal of Psychology, 145(1), 1-22.
    • Hamilton, A. M., Fowler, J. L., Hersh, B., Austin, C. A., Finn, S. E., Tharinger, D. J., Parton, V., Stahl, K., & Arora, P. (2009). “Why won’t my parents help me?”: Therapeutic assessment of a child and her family. Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), 108- 120.
    • Kluger, J., & Song, S. (2003). Masters of denial. Time, 161(3), 84-87. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.
    • Laporte, L., & Guttman, H. (1996). Traumatic childhood experiences as risk factors for borderline and other personality disorders. Journal of Personality Disorders, 10(3), 247-259.
    • Ling, H., & Qian, M. (2010). Relationships between attachment and personality disorder symptoms of Chinese college students. Social Behavior and Personality, 38(4), 571-576.
    • Lyddon, W. J., & Sherry, A. (2001). Developmental personality style: An attachment theory conceptualization of personality disorders. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79(4), 405-415. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.
    • Maniacci, M. P. (2007). His majesty the baby: Narcissism through the lens of individual psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology, 63(2), 136- 145. Retrieved May 13, 2011 from the EbscoHOST database.