This article may lack focus or may be about more than one topic. In particular, The lead is primarily about a legal concept whereas the body is about a psychological one.. Please help improve this article, possibly by splitting the article and/or by introducing a disambiguation page, or discuss this issue on the talk page. (June 2024)

In law, an entitlement is a provision made in accordance with a legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are based on concepts of principle ("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement. It is the content of a subjective right, namely the claim of a legal subject as against other persons to a legal object.[1]

In psychology, entitlement mentality is defined as a sense of deservingness or being owed a favor when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment.[2]


An inflated sense of what is sometimes called psychological entitlement[3] – unrealistic, exaggerated, or rigidly held – is especially prominent among narcissists. According to the DSM-5, individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are likely to have a "sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others," typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:[4][5] Similarly, according to Sam Vaknin, the narcissistic personality attempts to protect the vulnerable self by building layers of grandiosity and a huge sense of entitlement.[6] Similar to individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, those with borderline personality disorder display a strong sense of entitlement, according to research conducted by Dr. John Gunderson and Dr. Elsa Ronningstam. Ronningstam and Gunderson state, "Characteristics shared by the two disorders and thus failing to discriminate between NPD and BPD are notable. A sense of entitlement occurred in both diagnostic groups in Morey's and our studies; that is, both narcissists and borderlines felt that others should recognize their needs and give them special favours."[7]

An earned sense of entitlement is usually more beneficial than a purely-psychological entitlement. Still, the former may also have a destructive counterpart in the sense of a felt entitlement to revenge based on the accumulation of grievances.[8]

According to a study, narcissism is not associated with autonomy and adversely correlated with sociotropy, demonstrating low degrees of dependency without being excessively dependent. In contrast, entitlement showed a mixed pattern of dependency on others and a desire for independence from them, positively predicting both sociotropy and autonomy. Thus, despite having a self-centric attitude in common, psychological entitlement and narcissism have different orientations toward other people.[9]

Psychoanalysis differentiated among children three main varieties of the sense of entitlement: normal, inflated, and compromised.[10] The inflated sense of entitlement sought special privileges for the individual alone, perhaps to compensate for childhood suffering or narcissistic injury. The compromised sense involved an inability to expect the basic rights enjoyed by those around one.[10] A normal or healthy sense of entitlement included an expectation of responsiveness from significant others,[11] a sense of agency, and a sense of one's right to one's feelings, all of which form positive elements in self-esteem.[12]

Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy distinguished in adult life between (ethically) earning entitlement in relationships, which comes from care and consideration, and a subjective feeling of entitlement, the real basis for which may be very different.[13] Thus, the depressive may have an unjustifiably-low sense of entitlement, and the manic may have an exaggeratedly high one.[14] The gambler may feel entitled to expect a big win to compensate for childhood deprivation. Those who clamor most loudly for such reimbursement from fate may, in fact, unconsciously doubt their entitlement to anything at all.[15]

See also



  1. ^ Badenhorst, P. J. (May 17, 2023). "Sir William Blackstone and the doctrine of subjective rights". Obiter. 44 (1): 162–174 – via SciELO.
  2. ^ What Is an Entitlement Mentality? WebMD. Retrieved: 4 September 2021.
  3. ^ L. Ashner, When is Enough, Enough? (1997) pp. 106–107 [ISBN missing]
  4. ^ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013, pp. 669–672, ISBN 978-0890425558
  5. ^ "Narcissistic personality disorder: Symptoms", Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 November 2014, retrieved 29 April 2016
  6. ^ Mary Farrell, Acts of Trust (2010) p. 191
  7. ^ Ronningstam, E; Gunderson, J (1991). "Differentiating Borderline Personality Disorder from Narcissistic Personality Disorder". Journal of Personality Disorders. 5 (3): 225–232. doi:10.1521/pedi.1991.5.3.225. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  8. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 110 [ISBN missing]
  9. ^ Rose, Karen C.; Anastasio, Phyllis A. (2014-03-01). "Entitlement is about 'others', narcissism is not: Relations to sociotropic and autonomous interpersonal styles". Personality and Individual Differences. 59: 50–53. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2013.11.004. ISSN 0191-8869.
  10. ^ a b Vamik Volkan, Psychoanalysis, International Relations, and Diplomacy (2014) p. 36
  11. ^ A. Goldberg, Advances in Self-Psychology (2013) p. 25 [ISBN missing]
  12. ^ E. Ronningstam, Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality (2005)
  13. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 109–110
  14. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 164
  15. ^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis. (London 1946) pp. 372, 499

Further reading