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. Narcissism is an adaptive strategy, one that can be useful in certain areas of human functioning. Narcissism can be a source of immense creative energy that fuels an individual's need to make a difference in the world. It can certainly be important in extraordinarily dangerous or stressful careers, such as being a fighter pilot, for instance.

Narcissistic traits are often a liability when it comes to interpersonal functioning. When a narcissistic individual's emotions become unregulated, and the people around him or her don't comply with his or her needs, the going can get a little tough. If you can't quite empathize with the needs of others, conflict is inevitable. And narcissists tend to meet conflict with rigid unwillingness to change and an inability to see any perspective other than their own. Add in the aggressive reactive tendencies of a narcissist, and it's quite clear that an extremely narcissistic person, and those with whom he or she is involved, are headed for unpleasantness.

If you take this test and get a high score, and you're experiencing emotional distress or interpersonal conflict, you should consider seeking professional help. What do we mean by high? Remember that the average score for the population is 15.3. In statistics, we use a concept called a standard deviation to explain the spread of the scores are the mean, or average. One standard deviation above the mean accounts for 68 percent of the entire population; two standard deviations accounts for 95 percent of the population. In the general population NPI data, one standard deviation is equal to 6.8 points and two standard deviations are 13.6 points. Thus, if you took the survey and got a score that is two standard deviations above the mean, your total would be 29.9 (15.3 + 13.6). This means that you scored higher than 95 percent of the population that has taken the NPI.
Excerpted from The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America by Dr. Drew Pinsky. Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Drew Pinsky. Excerpted by permission of Harper Collins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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