The level of narcissism and self-entitlement has reached an all-time high in Generation Y college students, according to a recent study conducted by five nationwide university researchers.
The study was the largest of its type ever conducted, and was spearheaded by Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor and the author of a leading book on narcissism in young people.
“”Far from being civically oriented, young people born after 1982 are the most narcissistic generation in recent history,”” Twenge said in a press release.
The study asked its subjects for yes or no responses to statements such as, “”If I ruled the world, it would be a better place”” and “”I think I am a special person.”” The responses were alarming, the authors said. Two-thirds of all subjects answered “”yes”” to over half the statements, which is 30 percent more than when the test was first introduced in 1982.
“”Narcissism feels good and might be useful for meeting new people or auditioning on ‘American Idol,'”” said W. Keith Campbell, co-author of the study and a psychology professor at the University of Georgia. “”Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others.””
Campbell’s arguments are supported explicitly in the study, which states 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.””
The question now is, can anything be done to stem the self-centered tendencies of today’s students? As far as Twenge is concerned, possible tactics include sterner parenting.
“”We need to stop endlessly repeating, ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,”” Twenge said. “”Plus, current technology fuels the increase in narcissism.””
Campbell, however, suggested that the study’s results may show that a simple solution is impossible.
“”Permissiveness seems to be a component,”” he said. “”A potential antidote would be more authoritative parenting.””
UCSD students had mixed reactions about the findings of the study.
“”I’ve noticed that students tend to refuse to accept responsibility for doing poorly in class, as if they think it’s not possible that they themselves are to blame for a bad grade,”” Revelle College sophomore Elizabeth McDevitt said.
But Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore Virginia Cheng disagreed.
“”Students today seem to have more of a grasp today on worldly events and issues that don’t pertain to them personally,”” she said. “”We seem to care more about everyone else.””