The Impact of Narcissism on Drop-out From Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for the Eating Disorders

ArticleinThe Journal of nervous and mental disease 197(4):278-81 · May 2009with29 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.69 · DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31819dc150 · Source: PubMed


    This study examined the relationship between narcissism and drop-out from the early stage of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the eating disorders. Narcissism was defined in terms of both its core elements and the narcissistic defense styles. The participants were 41 patients presenting for CBT at a specialist eating disorders service. Each completed measures of narcissism and eating disorder psychopathology. Attendance at sessions was also recorded. The presence of the narcissistically abused personality defense style was associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out of outpatient CBT. This "martyred" form of narcissism appears to have a significant role in the adherence to treatment for the eating disorders. The limitations and the clinical implications of this preliminary research are discussed, and future directions for research are suggested.