Comparing Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality

Personality disorders, as described in the DSM-5,1 are characterized by inflexible and maladaptive patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Furthermore, personality disorders are associated with distress or impairment. But personality disorders differ from each other in a number of important ways. In a paper published in the March issue of Journal of Clinical Psychology, researchers Stanton and Zimmerman examine shared and unique features of two of these disorders: narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder

Both bi-factor and traditional factor analyses were conducted. First, the results revealed a strong overlap between traits defining each personality—traits such as impulsivity, grandiosity, and callousness.

So significant was the overlap that the authors concluded antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders may not be distinct disorders but “indicators of a broad externalizing spectrum,” sharing features such as impulsivity and antagonism with other disorders in the spectrum.

Second, regarding how to differentiate antisocial and narcissistic, the results showed that “unlawful behavior” and “outward aggression” distinguished antisocial personality, while viewing oneself as “high status” and “very special” distinguished narcissistic personality. Simply put, though both personalities tend to exploit people, an entitled and arrogant person is more likely to be narcissistic, while an aggressive individual with a criminal history is probably antisocial.

To read the entire article on Psychology Todayclick here.