What Is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder Test?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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The narcissistic personality disorder test describes a tool used by mental health practitioners to diagnose a patient with the condition. Traits measured in the test are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), designed by the American Psychiatric Association. The narcissistic personality disorder test evaluates behaviors and beliefs to determine if a patient meets the criteria exhibited by a narcissist.

A primary characteristic revealed by the narcissistic personality disorder test might indicate grandiosity, which represents the most common symptom of the disorder. Narcissists commonly exaggerate their successes and abilities even when their achievements don’t warrant recognition. They might believe they deserve constant admiration and special treatment because they are more intelligent, talented, and know people in power.

People with the disorder typically become obsessive with visions of success and might become angry if challenged. They commonly believe only equally special people can truly understand them. Narcissists usually find little worth in anything or anyone considered average and seek compliments about their work, appearance, and possessions.

The narcissistic personality disorder test also measures a patient’s empathy or lack of feelings for other people. Someone diagnosed with narcissism typically cannot recognize or acknowledge the emotional state of others. He or she might not interpret how his or her behavior makes someone else feel and may appear uncaring. A narcissist typically patronizes others and might treat them with contempt or arrogance.


Some questions on the test measure how narcissists view other people. People with this personality disorder commonly believe they are entitled to preferential treatment because of their superior talents. They may expect to go to the head of line instead of waiting their turn because their needs are more important. A common belief shared by people with this personality disorder revolves around envy. They may think everyone envies them for their special abilities or they may envy successful people.

The DSM diagnostic test for this disorder analyzes how people view themselves and others in particular situations. It measures how they respond emotionally, their intensity, and whether the reaction is appropriate or impulsive. The narcissistic personality disorder test also looks at how patients function in social situations, comparing their behavior to people without the disorder.

Some mental health professionals consider narcissism a character disorder marked by an unwillingness to change. A narcissist rarely seeks treatment because he or she commonly believes any problems stem from failure to recognize his or her special traits. The disorder usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood. One generally accepted theory links the disorder to deprivation of affection in childhood.



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