The Meaningfulness of Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism in Forensic Mental Health Rehabilitation Practice: A Systematic Review

Authors Lobke H. Keune, Vivienne de Vogel, Mara Eisenberg, Hjalmar J. C. van Marle
Published in International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Publication date 27 August 2021
Research groups Working with Mandated Clients
Type Article


Narcissism is a personality construct with grandiose, and vulnerable aspects, that are interconnected through antagonistic characteristics. While antagonism is strongly related to antisocial behavior, the role of narcissism remains underexplored in offender rehabilitation practice. Research in non-forensic samples has already shown promising results in the differential associations for grandiose and vulnerable narcissism in relation to violent and antisocial behavior and treatment responsiveness that could be relevant for offender rehabilitation. To research the meaningfulness of both narcissism aspects for forensic offender rehabilitation practice, we systematically reviewed the electronic literature databases CINAHL EBSCOhost, Cochrane CENTRAL, EMBASE, Medline All Ovid, PsycINFO Ovid, and Web of Science Core Collection. Subsequently, we synthesized the outcome into meaningful data classifications related to the risk of violence in offender populations and treatment responsivity. In total, 14 publications on forensic samples were included. Overall, the findings suggest that grandiose narcissism was strongly related to proactive violence and a low treatment responsiveness. Vulnerable narcissism was associated with reactive aggression, mediated by impulsivity and negative emotions, and with a moderate responsivity level. As such, both narcissism aspects seem relevant for the development of structured and focused treatment plans in offender rehabilitation practice. The implications for offender rehabilitation practice are provided.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Key words Forensic mental health, grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism, riskneed-responsivity, offender rehabilitation practice
Page range 1-17