University of Georgia

Not so narcissistic

old master painting of Narcissus looking at his reflection

Narcissists tend to be insufferable. They are self-absorbed, have an inflated view of their own talents, crave attention and admiration, and are extremely selfish.

Thus it’s distressing that Americans are typically perceived as narcissistic—even thought likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for the psychiatric disorder—
according to a study conducted by UGA psychologists in collaboration with colleagues from around the world.

The reality is that in most epidemiological surveys fewer than one in 100 individuals meet the diagnostic criteria for the narcissistic personality disorder, marking it as a relatively rare disorder—whether in the United States or elsewhere.

The study indicates that the perception of American narcissism is far worse than the actual incidence. “We might have a narcissistic culture,” said Keith Campbell, study coauthor and head of the Department of Psychology, “but the people themselves aren’t necessarily narcissistic.”