Delay discounting and narcissism: A meta-analysis with implications for narcissistic personality disorder

Personal Disord. 2022 May;13(3):210-220. doi: 10.1037/per0000528. Epub 2022 Jan 6.


Several psychiatric conditions (e.g., substance use, mood, and personality disorders) are characterized, in part, by greater delay discounting (DD)-a decision-making bias in the direction of preferring smaller, more immediate over larger, delayed rewards. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is highly comorbid with substance use, mood, and other personality disorders, suggesting that DD may be a process underpinning risk for NPD as well. This meta-analysis examined associations between DD and theoretically distinct, clinically relevant dimensions of narcissism (i.e., grandiosity, entitlement, and vulnerability). Literature searches were conducted and articles were included if they were written in English, published in a peer-reviewed journal, contained measures of DD and narcissism and reported their association, and used an adult sample. Narcissism measures had to be systematically categorized according to clinically relevant dimensions (Grijalva et al., 2015; Wright & Edershile, 2018). Seven studies met inclusion criteria (N = 2,705). DD was positively associated with narcissism (r = .21; 95% confidence interval [.10, .32]), with this association being largely attributable to measures of trait grandiosity that were used in each study (r = .24; 95% confidence interval [.11, .37]). No studies included diagnostic NPD assessments. These findings provide empirical evidence that DD is related to trait narcissism and perhaps risk for NPD (e.g., grandiosity listed in Criterion B of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, alternative model of personality disorders). Considering the positive evidence from this review, and the dearth of research examining DD in individuals with NPD, investigators studying NPD may consider incorporating DD measures in future studies to potentially inform clinical theory and novel adjunctive treatment options. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Delay Discounting*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Narcissism*
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / psychology