Perfectionism, Shame, and Aggression in Depressive Patients With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Depressive symptoms are known to co-occur in patients with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). From a psychodynamic perspective, perfectionism, shame, and aggression are regarded as prominent in depressed patients. The authors investigated the occurrence of perfectionism, shame, and aggression in patients with NPD, and whether shame is a mediating or a moderating factor for aggression. Two groups of patients with depression, 61 diagnosed with NPD and no other personality disorders (PD) were compared with 56 without any PD, using the SCID screening questionnaire and a semistructured interview. All participants were administered the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, the Internalized Shame Scale, and the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire. The NPD group showed significantly higher scores for self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism, shame, and aggression (i.e., physical, verbal, anger, and hostility). Shame was found to act as a mediating factor, reducing levels of aggression in patients with perfectionistic traits.

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