A narcissistic personality inventory is a tool used in clinical psychology to measure narcissism in certain individuals. It is often used in diagnosing and researching narcissistic personality disorder, and many psychologists or psychiatrists use this to determine the level of certain narcissistic traits in people. Made up of several questions, the narcissistic personality inventory was first created in the late 1970s.
Each question on this inventory has two possible answers from which patients can choose. One of the answers is representative of a narcissistic trait, while the other answer is not. By answering these questions truthfully, an individual is often able to see which narcissistic qualities he possesses. Seven of the most common narcissistic traits measured in this inventory include authority, superiority, entitlement, exploitiveness, self-sufficiency, vanity, and exhibitionism.
The authority aspect of this personality inventory refers to an individual's leadership and perceived leadership skills. Narcissists who get a high score in this area are usually looking to gain more and more authority over other people. Many of them strive to have power simply to control others. Since narcissists also seem to have grandiose ideas that they are superior to other people, they may also receive a high score on both of these sections of a narcissistic personality inventory.
Many individuals with narcissistic personality disorder may believe they are entitled to certain things. These can be respect, money, possessions, or love. Some have unreasonable expectations about what other people, or the world in general, owe them. Many times, a narcissist will gain these things by exploiting others. He will typically feel fine about using or manipulating others to reach his goals.
Despite the fact that he may use others or their weaknesses to his advantage, a person with narcissistic personality disorder will usually believe that he relies on himself alone. Many believe that they are completely self-sufficient. In a narcissistic personality inventory, a high score in this area and low scores in others does not necessarily indicate narcissism, and it could just mean that a person rarely relies on others.
Vanity and exhibitionism are two other traits that are usually measured by this type of inventory. Vain individuals typically believe that they are more attractive than others. They will often enjoy looking at themselves and sometimes even expose themselves in public. Individuals who have high scores in the area of exhibitionism often enjoy or even strive to be the center of attention, which is considered to be a narcissistic trait.
Robert Raskin and Calvin Hall published the first narcissistic personality inventory in 1979. It consisted of more than 200 questions. In 1988, while working with Howard Terry, Raskin was able to cut out several of the questions. The revised version had only 40 questions, and forms of this inventory are still used today.