Narcissism has always existed, but in the 21st century, the number of people with the trait have swollen immeasurably.
Thanks to camera phones, reality TV and social media, it has never been more acceptable to be a narcissist – someone who is overly self-involved, vain and selfish.
Kim Kardashian is so comfortable with the term that she has released a book composed solely of her own selfies and just this week it was revealed that young people are now drinking less alcohol so that they can look good in pictures on social media.
While narcissism can foster some good attributes, like strong self-esteem, emotional stability and the tendency to emerge as a leader, these are often outweighed by the pitfalls.
People with the trait tend to be manipulative, self-absorbed, aggressive and arrogant.
These behaviours can make it difficult for them to have long term relationships and meaningful friendships, it also can make it more likely for them to indulge in unethical practices.
But while many people could identify with some characteristics of a narcissist, like getting upset when criticised or the tendency to show off when in a crowd, are your tendencies bordering on the problematic?
A new book by Dr Craig Malkin – a Harvard-trained psychologist – has produced a test to determine the scale of your narcissism and whether it is something to be concerned about.
Read on to take the test and decide how much of a narcissist you are…
THE NARCISSISM TEST
On a scale of 1 to 5, indicate how much you agree or disagree with each item, using the guide below
1 – strongly disagree
2 – disagree
3 – neutral
4 – agree
5 – strongly agree
1. I know there’s something special about me
2. I’m great at a lot of things compared to most people
3. I secretly believe I’m better than most people
4. I press on even in challenging tasks
5. Obstacles rarely slow me down
6. I’m self-confident, but caring
7. I feel uneasy when I’m the focus of attention
8. I find it hard to enjoy compliments
9. I don’t like to talk about myself
While the alarm bells might be ringing, Dr Malkin cautions that it\’s ok to have a degree of narcissistic tendencies.
He said: \’This test is not like others designed by psychologists to measure narcissim.
\’Most surveys start with the assumption that any narcissim is bad. If you answer \’true\’ to \’I like looking at my body,\’ or \’I am assertive\’, and your narcissim score starts to grow.\’
He continued: \’But there\’s obviously nothing harmful about feeling confident about your body or being assertive.
\’To address these shortfalls, I and my colleagues created the new assessment tool called Narcissim Spectrum Scale.
\’To ensure its accuracy we collected data from several hundred people, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, from all around the world.\’
Extreme Narcissism: Add items 1–3 and enter your score here:
Healthy Narcissism: Add items 4-6 and enter your score here:
Echoism: Add items 7-9 and enter your score here:
All three scores are related to narcissism, but reflect very different patterns of behavior.
Echoism: 10 is average; 12 and up is high. High echoism means you’re worried about burdening others and rarely assert your needs.
Healthy Narcissism: 11 is average; 12 and up is high. Healthy narcissism means you’re empathic, ambitious, caring and confident.
Extreme narcissism: 9 is average; 10 is high. High scorers tend to be selfish manipulative, demanding, and often arrogant. 11 or higher could even mean you’re an extreme narcissist, though if you’re under the age 25, this could change over time.
In general, you’re highest score is dominant, but extreme narcissism trumps them all when it’s high.
The abbreviated narcissism test is informal, not diagnostic. For a more accurate picture, you’ll need to take the test included in The Narcissist Test by Dr Craig Malkin, available now in paperback at £10.99 (Harper Thorsons).