Are there any peer-reviewed studies that show what percent of the population are believed to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder that have been published within the past ten years? I have read about studies that list the percent of people with NPD, but all of them came out on or before two thousand ten and may no longer be accurate and some of them weren't even peer-reviewed.

  • $\begingroup$ If possible, can you help me on this question? Many thanks How widespread is learned-helplessness in society? $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker Sure. I answered the question to the best of my abilities. Hope it helps! $\endgroup$
    – Tyler Mc
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ thank you so much $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
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    – Tyler Mc
    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


While not a peer-reviewed study per se, but the DSM-5 says that the prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the population is 6.2%, or approximately one out of sixteen members of the population (6.25%). The DSM-V was published in 2013 and is a peer-reviewed text, so it is within the 10 year criteria you mentioned and this fact is mentioned in more recent sources like an article for Psychiatric Times published in 2016. Another study from 2019 doesn't mention Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but does mention how approximately 3% of the population (or about 1 in 33) has Antisocial Personality Disorder, another disorder that is a common dual-diagnosis with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Then, there is a 2020 study that shows 1.6% (1 in 60) to 5.9% (1 in 17) of people have borderline personality disorder or BPD, which can be associated with a lack of empathy and lead to behaviors that can be mistaken for NPD. This is similar to Histrionic Personality Disorder (which doesn't cause people to suffer from a lack of empathy like with NPD, but can appear that way due to how it is difficult for those with HPD to recognize the emotions of others and thus lack emotional intelligence) that affects less than or equal to 2% of the population according to the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

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    $\begingroup$ DSM has hundreds of authors, all of whom are professors, scientists, PhDs. I'd be confident that their assertion of 6.2% is grounded in good science. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Mobbs
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ To add to what @TonyMobbs has pointed out, the DSM has been in review by it's authors in collaboration with others who chip in with their knowledge over the years, hence the fact that DSM-5 is the 5th edition. Nice catch though 😁 $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Who's to say the DSM-V is not just taking old numbers and passing them along? Would that still count as a recent reference? $\endgroup$
    – Feryll
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 19:40

In response to your question on the prevalence of NPD, I've listed some research here:

  1. Dhawan, Kunik, Oldham, and Coverdale (2010) did a systematic review of literature on the prevalence and treatment of NPD from Jan 1980 to Aug 2008.

  2. Twenge and Foster (2010) updates a US based meta analysis of the prevalence of NPD among college students (based on literature from 1982 to 2008). Second, they compare NDP scores of students over time on one college campus (1994-2009).

  3. Wilson & Sibley (2011) assess prevalence of NPD in New Zealand, unlike many studies that are based in the US. Increasing with age was related to lower Narcissism scores.

Related, I recommend Campbell, Miller, & Buffardi's (2010) research that attends to cultural influences, and change over time in NPD.

More specifically, Campbell, Miller, & Buffardi (2010) use perceptions of national character (PNCs) to assess cultural levels of narcissism. In their first study,

archival data show that American perceptions of national character (PNCs) assessed with the five factor model (FFM) closely fit with the profile of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Furthermore, cross-national comparison shows

that U.S. PNCs of NPD were the highest among examined cultures.

Here is a reference that is a little later than 2010 on this topic, that may help find more empirical research after 2010:

Paris, J. (2014). Modernity and narcissistic personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 5(2), 220–226. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028580


Dhawan, Kunik, Oldham, Coverdale, (2010) Prevalence and treatment of narcissistic personality disorder in the community: a systematic review,Comprehensive Psychiatry.

Twenge, J. M., & Foster, J. D. (2010). Birth Cohort Increases in Narcissistic Personality Traits Among American College Students, 1982–2009. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 99–106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550609355719

Wilson, M. S., & Sibley, C. G. (2011). 'Narcissism creep?': Evidence for Age-Related Differences in Narcissism in the New Zealand General Population. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 40(3).

Keith Campbell, W., Miller, J. D., & Buffardi, L. E. (2010). The United States and the “Culture of Narcissism”: An Examination of Perceptions of National Character. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(3), 222–229. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550610366878


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