Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Causes)

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Causes are not yet well-understood. Genes play a significant role (approximately 50%), but the unique ways that environments shape people (e.g., peer interactions) also influence narcissism. Related hypotheses include:

  1. Heritable narcissistic traits emerged in part due to natural selection for promiscuous sexuality.
  2. Some people develop into narcissists because of self-reflection on largely heritable traits-"I am attractive and therefore I deserve special treatment."
  3. Cultural factors may bring-about narcissistic qualities (e.g., watching narcissistic role models on TV; adverse, war-torn environments).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Last reviewed 01/15/2010


  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Revised.
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Assessment and Treatment of Patients with Coexisting Mental Illness and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No.9.
  • National Institutes of Health - National Library of Medicine
  • Brad Bushman, W. Keith Campbell, Del Paulhus, Richard W. Robins