The Effect of Response Format on the Psychometric Properties of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory: Consequences for Item Meaning and Factor Structure

Robert A. Ackerman, M. Brent Donnellan, Brent W. Roberts, R. Chris Fraley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is currently the most widely used measure of narcissism in social/personality psychology. It is also relatively unique because it uses a forced-choice response format. We investigate the consequences of changing the NPI’s response format for item meaning and factor structure. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 40 forced-choice items (n = 2,754), 80 single-stimulus dichotomous items (i.e., separate true/false responses for each item; n = 2,275), or 80 single-stimulus rating scale items (i.e., 5-point Likert-type response scales for each item; n = 2,156). Analyses suggested that the “narcissistic” and “nonnarcissistic” response options from the Entitlement and Superiority subscales refer to independent personality dimensions rather than high and low levels of the same attribute. In addition, factor analyses revealed that although the Leadership dimension was evident across formats, dimensions with entitlement and superiority were not as robust. Implications for continued use of the NPI are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalAssessment
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Narcissistic Personality Inventory
  • factor analysis
  • forced choice
  • narcissism
  • response format

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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