A Passionate Call for Dispassionate Conclusion: Comment on Fossati et al. (2016)

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In a recent article published by Fossati and colleagues (2016a, 2016b), the authors compared the empirical profiles derived from correlating measures of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) with a measure of the 25 personality disorder traits included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) to an expert-rated profile of NPD. The initial data, which included some mistakes, were interpreted as indicating comparable performance across all three self-report measures of narcissism and NPD, including two hotly debated measures, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI). However, upon correction, the NPI yielded a trait profile much more closely aligned with expert ratings of NPD than did the PNI Grandiose dimension (NPI: ralerting and rcontrast = .73 and .83, respectively; PNI Grandiose: ralerting and rcontrast = .42 and .39, respectively). Despite the large difference in construct validity coefficients, no change was made to the discussion that states that the PNI performs comparably to other self-report measures like the NPI. This is just one of several instances in the published literature where results that favor the NPI over the PNI are ignored or understated. We reviewed six head-to-head comparisons, including the revised results from Fossati et al., of the NPI and PNI in relation to expert predictions and demonstrate that the NPI strongly outperforms the PNI in all six. We believe that conclusions regarding these measures must be data-driven and dispassionate moving forward.

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