Meta-Analysis of Coefficient Alpha for Scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory




Miller, Brian K.
Nicols, Kay M.
Clark, Silvia
Daniels, Alison
Grant, Whitney

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Public Library of Science


The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) has greatly facilitated the scientific study of trait narcissism. However, there is great variability in the reported reliability of scores on the NPI. This study meta-analyzes coefficient alpha for scores on the NPI and its sub-scales (e.g. entitlement) with transformed alphas weighted by the inverse of the variance of alpha. Three coders evaluated 1213 individual studies for possible inclusion and determined that 1122 independent samples were suitable for coding on 12 different characteristics of the sample, scale, and study. A fourth author cross-coded 15 percent of these samples resulting in 85 percent overall agreement. In the independent samples, comprised of 195,038 self-reports, the expected population coefficient alpha for the NPI was .82. The population value for alpha on the various sub-scales ranged from .48 for narcissistic self-sufficiency to .76 for narcissistic leadership/authority. Because significant heterogeneity existed in coded study alphas for the overall NPI, moderator tests and an explanatory model were also conducted and reported. It was found that longer scales, the use of a Likert response scale as opposed to the original forced choice response format, higher mean scores and larger standard deviations on the scale, as well as the use of samples with a larger percentage of female respondents were all positively related to the expected population alpha for scores on the overall NPI. These results will likely aid researchers who are concerned with the reliability of scores on the NPI in their research on non-clinical subjects.



narcissistic personality inventory, coefficient alpha


Miller, B. K., Nicols, K. M., Clark, S., Daniels, A., & Grant, W. (2018). Meta-analysis of coefficient alpha for scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. PLoS ONE, 13(12), pp. 1–16.


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© 2018 Miller et al.

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