This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Empirical and Existential Examination of Narcissistic Functioning




Peebles, Scott

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology
Counselor Education
School Psychology


The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) and its factors have been shown to simultaneously predict both psychological adjustment and lack thereof. Results from a host of empirical studies suggest that although one particular NPI factor predicts poorer adjustment and psychological functioning on a consistent basis, the other three factors predict varying levels of psychological health and adjustment. The present study sought to examine the predictive ability of the NPI and its factors in relation to existentially-oriented measures of psychological functioning. One hundred and ninety individuals completed the NPI and several existential construct measures (e.g., purpose in life, self-actualization, and death anxiety). The regression analyses demonstrate that the NPI and its factors indeed differentially predict psychological health and adjustment on these existential measures. These findings support an existential conceptualization of narcissism that focuses on the relative adaptivity of a narcissistic character structure and a dimensional view of personality functioning. This conceptualization is consistent with traditional counseling psychology values and beliefs.