Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and, Gosh Darn It, People Like Me
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.I will avoid commentary drawing on my experiences teaching this group, and simply say that this is an interesting trend.
[The authors], 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.”
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.
Some other interesting tidbits from the article:
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.”
anybody watch "The Hills" last night, or ever?
The new report follows a study released by UCLA last month which found that nearly three-quarters of the freshmen it surveyed thought it was important to be “very well-off financially.” That compared with 62.5 percent who said the same in 1980 and 42 percent in 1966.I am curious if (a) this is actually an effect of the self-esteem movement (as opposed to a result of the changing composition of the college student population overtime, changes in economic conditions like rising inequality, or changes in society related to technology) and (b) if the self-esteem movement is responsible, has it had similar effects on those who are not enrolling in college. It seems to me that its these people who actually are the most likely to benefit from efforts to boost self-esteem. It would be sad if self-esteem inequality (like income inequality) has simply increased as people who already were likely to have high self-esteem got pushed to even higher levels.
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