Addis Ethiopia Weblog

Ethiopia's World

Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today?

Posted by addisethiopia on January 14, 2013

Is the United States facing an epidemic of narcissism?

Meet the most narcissistic ‘I’ & ‘ME’ generation ever

A psychologist who’s been researching how personality is changing across the generations has coined the term ‘Generation Me’ to reflect this trend. Professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University in California captured the changing attitudes of students from data collected as far back as the 1960s. She says our culture used to encourage modesty and humility – but that now self-confidence is seen as the key to success

The evidence comes in two forms: Changes among individuals, and changes in the culture.

Although these seem like a random collection of current trends, all are rooted in a single underlying shift in American culture: the relentless rise of narcissism, a very positive and inflated view of self. Narcissists believe they are better than others, lack emotionally warm and caring relationships, constantly seek attention, and treasure material wealth and physical appearance. In The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, psychologists and professors Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell draw from empirical research and cultural analysis to expose the destructive spread of narcissism. Perhaps most important, they also discuss treatment – what each of us can do to stop the epidemic of narcissism so corrosive to society.

The increase in narcissism was stronger for women than for men in both datasets. Men are still more narcissistic than women on average, but women are catching up fast. This makes some sense, as a lot of the cultural push toward narcissism (see below) has a bigger effect on girls and women.

Then there’s the shocking data recently released by researchers from the National Institutes of Health. They surveyed a nationally representative sample of 35,000 Americans about symptoms that can add up to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the more severe, clinical form of the trait. They asked if someone had ever experienced these symptoms in their lifetime, so you’d expect that older people would have a much higher rate than younger people since they’ve lived more years. However, the data go the opposite direction: Only 3% of people over 65 had ever experienced NPD, compared to nearly 10% of people in their twenties. It’s possible that older people forgot some symptoms from earlier in their lives, but that would have to be a large amount of forgetting to account for this big a discrepancy. With almost 1 out of 10 people in their twenties already experiencing NPD, it’s sobering to realize how high that number might go in the coming decades.

There have also been big changes in behavior – cultural changes that are often started by more narcissistic people and then draw in the less narcissistic. Plastic surgery and procedures are up by a factor of six in just ten years. Materialistic attitudes have increased, and people are more willing to go into debt to afford the best – right now. Celebrity gossip magazines are more popular while the circulation of other magazines and newspapers have plummeted. My favorite anecdotal example: It is now possible to hire fake paparazzi to follow you around when you go out at night so you can pretend you’re famous. This was unheard of just five years ago.

So the whole society has become more narcissistic – not just the people, but our entire value system.


Re-posted with an update to the above, November 22, 2012 post:

We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.

Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
This data is not unexpected.  I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.

On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”

Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.

Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters.  And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and in triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.

Continue reading…


23 Responses to “Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today?”

  1. […] Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today? […]

  2. […] Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today? […]

  3. valkyries said

    The Lap-Band does not tell you what they don’t have the dieting not working strength or willpower to succeed. Actually, I would like to see immediate results.

  4. buy Xanax said

    I comment whenever I especially enjoy a post on a site or if I have something
    to add to the discussion. Usually it is caused by the passion displayed in the
    post I looked at. And after this article Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today?
    AddisEthiopia Weblog. I was moved enough to post a comment 😉 I do have a couple of
    questions for you if you usually do not mind.
    Could it be just me or do some of the comments
    appear like they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And,
    if you are posting on additional social sites, I would like to
    keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you
    make a list the complete urls of your shared sites like your
    Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  5. For most up-to-date information you have to go to see internet and on web
    I found this web site as a finest web site for most recent updates.

  6. They look at your status, composure, leading skills,
    reaction to situations and all the other things that in short make you a man.

    For those who prefer to make invitations with a personal touch.

    Key modifications in the jewelry business and the frequency of
    the Internet in all aspects of commerce have allied to create the
    costs of handcrafted wedding rings steadily down.

  7. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve you guys to my own blogroll.

  8. 2010 bank holidays in India are a blend of national events, spiritual festivals and community celebrations.

    Single traveller holidays are perfect for those used to
    organising their lives and arranging what to do in their spare time.
    Most of the country is located in west Asia, and that’s why the traditions are so respected in this land.

  9. I visited various web pages however the audio feature for audio songs existing at this website is in fact excellent.

  10. Wow, this paragraph is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things, so I am going to
    let know her.

  11. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous
    to and you’re just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve
    acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can’t wait to
    read far more from you. This is actually a great site.

  12. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months
    of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  13. pit2014 said

    Hi great website! Does running a blog like this take a large amount of work?
    I’ve very little knowledge of coding but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic nevertheless I simply had to ask. Cheers!

  14. Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this site conations truly pleasant funny material too.

  15. Cialis said

    I every time used to read article in news papers but now
    as I am a user of net thus from now I am using net
    for articles, thanks to web.

  16. homepage said

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she retains the idea
    of a user in his/her mind that how a user can
    be aware of it. So that’s why this post is amazing.

  17. シャネル中古バック 理由ですので含む腫れた目、やけど、皮膚炎のための大きな助け。収集の変更を頻繁に提供されるのでこれらは行くすぐに。小さなお店の付属品の販売はまた両方男女。 シャネル ブルー

  18. Hi, i reqd your blog occasionally and i own a similar
    one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam
    feedback? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything
    you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insanee so
    any help is very much appreciated.

  19. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understawnd
    your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely fantastic.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which you
    say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care
    for to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from
    you. This is actually a terrific web site.

  20. Good day! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I ould get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding
    one? Thanks a lot!

  21. Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out
    pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting uup my own but I’m
    not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions?


  22. Most people looking for about moving quotes do so because they
    have to move, and they know it. While Naphtha
    is not commonly discussed, it is a great alternative to butane and propane.
    The Street Fiction ebooks available at this store are one of the best in their genre.
    This awesome online optical store sells authentic sunglasses
    from top brands at incredibly low prices. I have literally seen a new vacuum burnt out after 1 use
    to clean a small mess like this. ” A few years later, in 1908, inspired by the Blackton film (“The Haunting”), was finalized Chomn and finished to the technique of stop-motion in what would be one of his most popular films around the world: ” The hotel electricity.

    Middle East region is hugely popular among expatriates as a
    career destination as people from all nationalities and religions come together to earn attractive salaries in return for their expert
    services. You will also need to establish how permanent your angel theme will be.
    Simply said, a one way truck is a rental method that allows you to rent
    a truck in a given state and return it at the destination state
    to a branch of the same company in that area.
    A good facility management company has an industry-specific expertise and
    performs its duties through proven methodologies, techniques and tools.

  23. business Meeting

    Is There an Epidemic of Narcissism Today?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: