Multidimensional perfectionism and narcissism: Grandiose or vulnerable?

Multidimensional perfectionism is related to grandiose narcissism, with other-oriented perfectionism showing the strongest, most consistent relationships. The relationships with vulnerable narcissism, however, are unclear. Our study investigated how three forms of perfectionism—self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett, 1991)—are related to narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability. A sample of 375 university students completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997), and Pathological Narcissism Inventory (Pincus et al., 2009) capturing various facets of narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability. Multiple regressions were conducted controlling for the overlap between the three forms of perfectionism and gender. Other-oriented perfectionism showed unique positive relationships with key facets of grandiose narcissism. In contrast, socially prescribed perfectionism showed positive relationships with all facets of vulnerable narcissism. Self- and other-oriented perfectionism showed positive relationships with individual facets only. Other-oriented perfectionism appears to represent a form of perfectionism predominantly related to narcissistic grandiosity, whereas socially prescribed perfectionism is predominantly related to narcissistic vulnerability. As the first study to examine perfectionism in relation to narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability, our research both extends and clarifies the nomological network of the perfectionism construct in important ways.