The link between narcissism and perfectionism

I am ready for the upcoming congress of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disoders (ESSPD) where I join a symposium chaired by Elsa Ronningstam (Harvard Medical School) on recent advances in narcissism.

My team and I just concluded a study on the interwined path of narcissism and perfectionism. In a sample of healthy young adults we explored over time wheter perfectionistic traits and strategies explained the relationship between narcissim and psychopathology.

We found that the higher the perfectionistic strategies the higher the psychopathology associated with narcissistic traits. But perfectionism did not predict variation of narcissism over time. We interpret these results through an evolutionary perspective. Those with prominent narcissistic traits are often triggered by a social rank motive. We hypothesize that perfectionistic strategies are the “tools” used to pursue or recover a desidered social rank. This would be consistent with a common fluctuation of mental states in narcissism and with weak or non significant mediating role of perfectionism in the relationship between past and present narcissism.