Envy manifestations and personality disorders

Eur Psychiatry. 2000 Jun;15 Suppl 1:15-21. doi: 10.1016/s0924-9338(00)00501-0.


Personality disorders are frequently associated with socially unacceptable behaviours that might not be always considered deviant. On the other hand, envy has been linked with various forms of maladjustment such as interpersonal conflicts, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, aggressiveness, and even criminal behaviour such as vandalism and even murder. According to the DSM-IV, none of the personality disorders, except the narcissistic personality, is formally associated with envy. Nevertheless, this "deadly sin" is so omnipresent in human relationships that it cannot be restricted only to the narcissistic personalities. Most scholars recognise that people would deny that they envy someone else since envy is socially considered as highly undesirable; verbal reports are expected to be biased. To circumvent this difficulty, a projective questionnaire is proposed. We constructed two questionnaires: a direct version (DV) and an indirect version (IV). The sample consisted of 786 students from high school and university. Results suggest that the indirect version provides a more accurate assessment of envy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jealousy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Projective Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students / psychology