Associations between supernormality (‘faking good’), narcissism and depression: An exploratory study in a clinical sample

Louis De Page*, Harald Merckelbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We explored under-reporting of mental health symptoms and its correlates in adults receiving psychological treatment. We administered the Supernormality Scale (SS, Cima et al., 2003), the Minnesota Multiple Personality Inventory-2 (Restructured Form) (MMPI-2, Butcher et al., 1989), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI, Raskin & Terry, 1979), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-2, Beck et al., 1996) to 147 patients at the start of their treatment. Supernormality (i.e., denial of common symptoms) was positively associated with MMPI faking good parameters supporting the construct validity of the SS. Narcissism was negatively related to self-reported depression symptoms, but this association failed to reach significance (r = -.15, p = .07). This suggests that patients high on grandiose/overt narcissism might tend to deny common symptoms. The link between supernormality and depression symptoms as measured by the BDI was substantial and negative (r = -0.72). Our data suggest that supernormality is associated with constricted self-reports of depression. Given the clinical relevance of symptom under-reporting, our preliminary findings require a large-scale replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Early online date18 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • depression
  • faking good
  • grandiose narcissism
  • supernormality
  • symptom underreporting


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between supernormality (‘faking good’), narcissism and depression: An exploratory study in a clinical sample'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this