Understanding the Selfobject Needs Inventory: Its relationship to narcissism, attachment, and childhood maltreatment.

This study reevaluates the factor structure of the Selfobject Needs Inventory (SONI) using a sample of 738 students at an ethnically diverse urban university. The original SONI comprises 5 factors corresponding to approach and avoidance of Kohut’s selfobject needs for mirroring, idealization, and twinship. The current factor analysis revealed 4 factors related to individuals’ needs for affiliation and self-efficacy and indicating conflict around meeting these needs. Relationships between the new SONI factors and attachment style, narcissistic traits in adulthood, and childhood maltreatment were examined for convergent validity with the SONI and to clarify the underlying interpersonal needs of narcissistic variants and potential relationships with childhood trauma. Our results are consistent with Kohut’s conceptualization of narcissism as related to childhood emotional abuse and neglect and more closely related to the vulnerable variant of the narcissistic personality than the grandiose variant. Conflict surrounding selfobject needs may impede the ability to effectively use others to self-regulate, resulting in poorer interpersonal functioning and greater symptomatology than individuals who experience less conflict around using others to meet these needs. Clinical and research utility of the SONI are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)