Now here’s a shocker: Study finds college students are more narcissistic than ever

Self-centered? College students? Via AP (emphasis added):

NEW YORK – Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”

Twenge and her colleagues, in findings to be presented at a workshop Tuesday in San Diego on the generation gap, examined the responses of 16,475 college students nationwide who completed an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006.

The standardized inventory, known as the NPI, asks for responses to such statements as “If I ruled the world, it would be a better place” “I think I am a special person” and “I can live my life any way I want to.”

That certainly rings a bell or two.

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students’ NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.

The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”

Sounds familiar.

Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before” said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others.

The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the “self-esteem movement” that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far.


Campbell said the narcissism upsurge seemed so pronounced that he was unsure if there were obvious remedies.

“Permissiveness seems to be a component” he said. “A potential antidote would be more authoritative parenting. Less indulgence might be called for.”

Hmmmm. Ya think?

You mean like telling a child or teenager in no uncertain terms that what they’ve said/done is wrong, and punishing them if they don’t listen might actually be beneficial in the long run? And ingraining in them that while trying to achieve a goal is important, making sure you achieve it is the most ultimately satisfying and rewarding personally (oftentimes professionally) – that might help them succeed when they grow up?

No. Way.

More: Haven’t had a chance to read it, but the LATimes write up about this study is here. I’ll check it out when I get home.

Comments are closed.