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Celebrity narcissism

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           Celebrity narcissism: A bad reflection for kids
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           Behavior expert and physician Drew Pinsky hosts Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, a VH1 reality show.

           "In common parlance, narcissism is often used as a synonym for egomania or excessive self-regard," say Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young in The Mirror Effect.

           "In psychological terms, however, egotism and narcissism can be very different things. Egotists are preoccupied with themselves to an extreme degree. Narcissism, on the other hand, springs from not self-involvement, but a disconnection with oneself. Narcissistic individuals fixate on the reactions of others in order to shore up their own sense of self."

           Drew Pinsky on the cover of the book he co-authored

           Which statements best match you?

           1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.
           B. I am not good at influencing people.

           2. A. Modesty doesn't become me.
           B. I am essentially a modest person.

           3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare.
           B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.

           Take the rest of the 40-point assessment here and see how you score on authority, self-sufficiency, superiority, exhibitionism, exploitativeness, vanity and entitlement.

           Get wellness tips, medical study roundups and news for healthy living here, including info on ...

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      By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY
      The USA's celebrity-obsessed culture is causing us to become more narcissistic, says behavior expert and physician Drew Pinsky, co-author of The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America. It may be especially dangerous for young people, who view celebrities as role models, say co-authors Pinsky (an internist better known on TV and radio as Dr. Drew) and S. Mark Young, a social scientist. Pinsky speaks with USA TODAY:
      Q: Let's begin with the title. What do you mean by the "mirror effect," and why do you say it's a problem?

      A: I've been working with celebrities many, many years. I've treated many for chemical dependency and the like. They have profound childhood trauma. It's not something to do with their job or the life they lead. They just happen to be people driven to seek celebrity as a way to make themselves feel better. Then the question becomes, why are we preoccupied with this population? This points toward the mirror. We, too, have been increasingly narcissistic. I speculate that that's what drives us toward this phenomenon of elevating people to almost god-like status. It's not so much that it's the glamour we like focusing on — rather it's the dysfunction. We're taking someone who needs to be a god and making them a god. Then we spend all our energy tearing them down.

      Q: Is there a difference between a narcissist and someone who has a true disorder?

      A: Narcissism is a continuum of traits. There is a point at which it crosses into disorder. The traits are far more common. The disorder is relatively uncommon.

      YOU'RE SO VAIN? Take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory

      Q: But isn't it healthy to have a strong ego?

      A: To feel good about oneself and want to see our reflected glory in another person's eyes is not negative. There's a creative energy that is very positive. But when it gets out of control, such as losing empathy or acting out and not reflecting upon dysfunctional behavior, that's when we have concerns.

      Q: Your academic study, published in 2006 in theJournal of Research in Personality,found that celebrities, especially female celebrities, are significantly more narcissistic than the general population. You also suggest celebrities may have narcissistic tendencies prior to becoming stars.

      A: Anna Nicole Smith — she's a poster child for this phenomenon, a very severe case. She was a severe trauma survivor, an opiate addict. She left the country to act out her addiction.

      Q: Let's go back for a minute to this idea of our culture promoting this focus on celebrities. What's so harmful about focusing on celebrities?

      A: We should be concerned. It's anathema to what's healthy for humans — interpersonal experiences and being of service — as opposed to preoccupying oneself with extreme, chaotic, dysfunctional behavior and modeling those behaviors and wishing to be part of that and never experiencing a stable family life and not being able to trust other people or themselves. For those who say "It's just fun," why are you motivated to look at those people? Why gravitate to watching their troubles and their pathology? That's not OK. You feel better about your life with their misery. That's not what I call an admirable impulse.

      Q: Why do you say teens and young adults are most vulnerable?

      A: They are the sponges of our culture. Their values are now being set. Are they really the values we want our young people to be absorbing? Do we want them to have a revolving-door love life, or stable relationships? It harkens back to the question of how much are young people affected by models of social learning. Humans are the only animals who learn by watching other humans. Why don't we examine human reality here? Why don't we have that conversation and use it as an opportunity to look at the behavior of people and say "What is it really about? What can we learn and avoid that kind of behavior?" If parents don't intervene, that's where kids go.

      Q: What can parents do to protect their kids from narcissistic tendencies?

      A: Narcissism has eroded into parenting styles. We, as narcissists, try to parent experiencing the child as an emotional extension of ourselves. We can't tolerate pain for the child — allowing them to be frustrated and to fail. We want to give our kids everything. I'm saying parents themselves have become narcissists, along with the rest of the population.

      Q: While your book bemoans the state of our society, which can't seem to get enough of celebrities and their outrageous behavior, doesn't your participation on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew actually reinforce that obsession?

      A: We unveil all the traumas and reveal what's going on with these people. We pull the curtain back and show you who these human beings are and where there is real suffering. It's a bait and switch. We're using the celebrity draw and trying it on people to show the reality. The celebrities have all been very pleased to be part of it because they want be an inspiration to other people.

Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships
Mar/19/2009, 12:07 pm Link to this post  
samvaknin Profile
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Re: Celebrity narcissism

Take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory
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           Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young co-authored 'The Mirror Effect,' about how celebrity culture is making the average American more narcissistic.

           By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY
           Authors Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young, a professor of entertainment business at the University of Southern California have studied celebrities and the general population by administering a widely used screening tool called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which is included in The Mirror Effect.
           The book advises answering the 40 questions below in a single sitting, without asking for help or clarification. It notes, "There's no such thing as a good or bad result on this test. Scoring high on the narcissism inventory, or high on any of the component categories, doesn't mean you have a disorder, or that you're a good or bad person."

           Print this out or track your choices of which statements best match you — then test your friends, family, that guy at the office — anyone who's narcissism score you want to know.

           1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.
           B. I am not good at influencing people.

           2. A. Modesty doesn't become me.
           B. I am essentially a modest person.

           3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare.
           B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.

           4. A. When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed.
           B. I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so.

           5. A. The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.
           B. If I ruled the world it would be a better place.

           6. A. I can usually talk my way out of anything.
           B. I try to accept the consequences of my behavior.

           7. A. I prefer to blend in with the crowd.
           B. I like to be the center of attention.

           8. A. I will be a success.
           B. I am not too concerned about success.

           9. A. I am no better or worse than most people.
           B. I think I am a special person.

           10. A. I am not sure if I would make a good leader.
           B. I see myself as a good leader.

           11. A. I am assertive.
           B. I wish I were more assertive.

           12. A. I like to have authority over other people.
           B. I don't mind following orders.

           13. A. I find it easy to manipulate people.
           B. I don't like it when I find myself manipulating people.

           14. A. I insist upon getting the respect that is due me.
           B. I usually get the respect that I deserve.

           15. A. I don't particularly like to show off my body.
           B. I like to show off my body.

           16. A. I can read people like a book.
           B. People are sometimes hard to understand.

           17. A. If I feel competent I am willing to take responsibility for making decisions.
           B. I like to take responsibility for making decisions.

           18. A. I just want to be reasonably happy.
           B. I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world.

           19. A. My body is nothing special.
           B. I like to look at my body.

           20. A. I try not to be a show off.
           B. I will usually show off if I get the chance.

           21. A. I always know what I am doing.
           B. Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing.

           22. A. I sometimes depend on people to get things done.
           B. I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done.

           23. A. Sometimes I tell good stories.
           B. Everybody likes to hear my stories.

           24. A. I expect a great deal from other people.
           B. I like to do things for other people.

           25. A. I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve.
           B. I take my satisfactions as they come.

           26. A. Compliments embarrass me.
           B. I like to be complimented.

           27. A. I have a strong will to power.
           B. Power for its own sake doesn't interest me.

           28. A. I don't care about new fads and fashions.
           B. I like to start new fads and fashions.

           29. A. I like to look at myself in the mirror.
           B. I am not particularly interested in looking at myself in the mirror.

           30. A. I really like to be the center of attention.
           B. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention.

           31. A. I can live my life in any way I want to.
           B. People can't always live their lives in terms of what they want.

           32. A. Being an authority doesn't mean that much to me.
           B. People always seem to recognize my authority.

           33. A. I would prefer to be a leader.
           B. It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.

           34. A. I am going to be a great person.
           B. I hope I am going to be successful.

           35. A. People sometimes believe what I tell them.
           B. I can make anybody believe anything I want them to.

           36. A. I am a born leader.
           B. Leadership is a quality that takes a long time to develop.

           37. A. I wish somebody would someday write my biography.
           B. I don't like people to pry into my life for any reason.

           38. A. I get upset when people don't notice how I look when I go out in public.
           B. I don't mind blending into the crowd when I go out in public.

           39. A. I am more capable than other people.
           B. There is a lot that I can learn from other people.

           40. A. I am much like everybody else.
           B. I am an extraordinary person.

           SCORING KEY:

           Assign one point for each response that matches the key.

           1, 2 and 3: A
           4, 5: B
           6: A
           7: B
           8: A
           9, 10: B
           11, 12, 13, 14: A
           15: B
           16: A
           17, 18, 19, 20: B
           21: A
           22, 23: B
           24, 25: A
           26: B
           27: A
           28: B
           29, 30, 31: A
           32: B
           33, 34: A
           35. B
           36, 37, 38, 39: A
           40: B

           The average score for the general population is 15.3. The average score for celebrities is 17.8. Pinsky says he scored 16.

           Young says it is important to consider which traits are dominant. For example, an overall score that reflects more points on vanity, entitlement, exhibitionism and exploitiveness is more cause for concern than someone who scores high on authority, self-sufficiency and superiority, he says.

           The seven component traits by question:

           • Authority: 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 32, 33, 36

           • Self-sufficiency: 17, 21, 22, 31, 34, 39

           • Superiority: 4, 9, 26, 37, 40

           • Exhibitionism: 2, 3, 7, 20, 28, 30, 38

           • Exploitativeness: 6, 13, 16, 23, 35

           • Vanity: 15, 19, 29

           • Entitlement: 5, 14, 18, 24, 25, 27

           READERS: You're so vain ... or are you? Share your scores below:


Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships
Mar/19/2009, 12:07 pm Link to this post  

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