Student narcissism at all-time high, SDSU researcher finds

By Kendra Stiles
Kansas State Collegian

MANHATTAN, Kan. (U-WIRE) – Narcissism and self-centeredness are at an all-time high among college students, according to a study conducted by researchers at San Diego State University.

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at SDSU, conducted the research and had about 16,000 college students fill out a Narcissistic Personality Inventory survey between 1982 and 2006.

“Far from being civically oriented, young people born after 1982 are the most narcissistic generation in recent history,” Twenge said in an SDSU press release.

K-State Counseling Services director and licensed psychologist Fred Newton said he agreed with the findings though he had not conducted much research on the subject himself.

Newton said despite advances in technology and other advantages, students often arrive at college with high hopes but lacking preparation.

“If you compare college students today with those of 20 years ago, students’ expectations are higher, and they believe they’ll do better,” he said. “But as far as preparations go, they actually rate lower than they were back then.”

In accordance with Twenge’s research, Newton attributed Generation Y’s narcissistic tendencies to the culture surrounding it.

“Generation Y is sometimes referred to as the ‘trophy generation,'” Newton said. “So many times, kids are given trophies for basically nothing besides participating. Parents and the society around them have created the problem by overly recognizing people.”

Terri Delimont, senior in public heath nutrition, said she agreed parents, and society in general, are to blame for the rise in vanity among young people.

“I think kids are spoiled rotten,” she said. “When I was growing up, my parents didn’t overdo it, but it seems like today kids get everything they want. The focus is on the kids instead of on the family.”

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Student narcissism at all-time high, SDSU researcher finds