Sharing a Diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality: a Challenging Decision with Associated Risks and Benefits

  • Richard G. HershEmail author
  • Benjamin McCommon
  • Emma G. Golkin
Personality and Impulse Control Disorders (R Lee, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Personality and Impulse Control Disorders


Purpose of Review

This paper aims to examine diagnostic sharing of narcissistic personality from multiple vantage points and to describe strategies that might help clinicians in patient management.

Recent Findings

In recent years, clinicians increasingly have been motivated to discuss with patients the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), an intervention bolstered by the emergence of empirically validated treatments for BPD and by advocacy organizations calling for diagnostic sharing. Despite these advances, clinical experience suggests that the diagnosis of narcissistic personality, including narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or clinically significant narcissistic traits, is rarely shared with patients. We review emerging information about diagnostic classification and assessment, epidemiology, heritability, neurobiology, prognosis, and the utility of evidence-based treatments, which may facilitate a conversation on diagnosis (as demonstrated in multiple clinical scenarios provided as examples).


Diagnostic sharing has become a central element in the informed consent process. Understanding the risks and benefits of sharing a diagnosis of narcissistic personality is essential for clinical practice.


Narcissistic personality disorder Narcissism Diagnosis Psychoeducation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Hersh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Benjamin McCommon
    • 1
  • Emma G. Golkin
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA

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