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Rothstein, A. (1979). An Exploration of the Diagnostic Term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:893-912.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:893-912

An Exploration of the Diagnostic Term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

Arnold Rothstein, M.D.


A review of the relevant contributions to the theory of narcissism is undertaken to clarify the diagnostic category narcissistic personality disorder. An attempt is made to delineate the significant and creative aspects of both Kernberg's and Kohut's contributions as well as to explore those aspects of their work that are contradictory and, in that sense, confusing. A definition of narcissistic personality disorder is presented that attempts to elucidate this heuristically valuable diagnostic designation while preserving an appreciation of the ubiquitous nature of narcissism in the "character" of the ego. Narcissistic personality disorders are defined by their preferred mode of attempting to restore a sense of narcissistic perfection to their self-representation and by the state of

integration of narcissism by their egos. This definition is proposed within the framework of a classification of narcissism within the "character" of the ego. It is intended to complement other diagnostic considerations that reflect non-narcissistic issues.

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