Modern Day Issues

Posted: September 3rd, 2013





Modern Day Issues

Are Today’s Youth More Self-Centered than Previous Generations?


  • Narcissism in the young people has increased since the 1970s. In the Bem Sex Role Inventory M scale, both genders scored higher in the traits measured. These traits included leadership ability, “particular to me”, individualism and independence. Some college females scored higher in some areas while some college males scored higher in areas pertaining to assertiveness. Both gender recorded an increase in extraversion. This was between the 1970s and the 1990s.
  • American college students are the made a higher-level score on narcissism between the 1980 and 2006 as compared to the previous years. “The NPI [narcissistic personality inventory] scores increased [by] 0.33 standard deviation from the early 1980s to 2006”, (p.120). This means that the current college student engages in two more materials of narcissism than the previous college students did.
  • Americans are becoming more individualistic as time goes by. Out of a group interviewed in the year 2006, only Ten percent mentioned that being spiritual was included in their lives’ goals. It was also found that only thirty percent of the interviewed put helping those in need as their goal. They yearn for credit given by others and searching high status collaborates so that they can receive the glory given by the public. The narcissistic have either little or no interest in forming emotional bonds with people unless it is to their advantage.
  • They are also more materialistic than they were in the 1970s. “74% of the college freshmen in 2004 cited “being well off financially” as an important life goal, compared to only 45% in 1967”, (p. 121). In a survey conducted in 2006, eighty-one percent of the eighteen to twenty-five year old interviewed answered that being wealthy was one of their main goals in life while 51% answered that fame was their most important generational goals.
  • An increase in narcissism has a negative effect on the individuals. The narcissistic individuals have been seen to engage in more potential addictive disorders such as alcohol and drug abuse, pathological gambling, and compulsive shopping. They are more likely to have distorted judgments more than the other individuals are. They also make more risky decisions than the other individuals do do.
  • Due to their actions, narcissism tends to have an impact on the rest of the society. Those engaging with the narcissistic experience white collar crimes, aggressions, troubled romantic relationships, rapid depletion of common resources, amongst other negative factors in the society. Most of the costs that come with narcissism are paid by those surrounding the narcissists more the narcissists pay themselves.
  • Since narcissism has affected the young people, it is likely to affect future parents and generations. The young child grows up being told that he/she can do anything. The girl child especially, grows up being told that he can take up jobs that were once dominated by the males. This is the reason there are many women in some careers that were considered male careers. Similarly, the narcissistic youth today will grow up to become a narcissistic parent and thus he/she will bring forth a narcissistic offspring.
  • The current education that promotes self-esteem may be of negative influence to the current and future generations. Children in the preschool level have been found to sing songs such as “I am special/I am special/Look at me…,” (p. 122), which encourages the children to love themselves and to have a high self-esteem. If they are not taught at home, the children may fail to know the value of sharing as it is not emphasized in most schools.
  • Schools have incorporated many programs that encourage self-esteem, loving oneself and believing in ones opinion and instincts. The grade inflation in schools may play a major role in narcissism. Only twenty-seven percent of the freshmen students admitted to getting an average of ‘A’ in their high school in the year 1980. When a survey was conducted in the year 2004, forty-eight percent of the students were found to have attained an average of grade ‘A’ in their high schools.
  • The media and other forms of technology may play a major role in narcissism. Most television programs have been seen to emphasize on a child’s uniqueness/being special, positive feelings and self-esteem. The technology, whether digital, the internet and other technological resources, may play a role in the increase of narcissism in the young people. Many people are engaging on these facilities/ resources today than they did in the 1960s and the 1970s.


  • There is no increase of narcissism in the last generation. The Americans average NPI score made in earlier was found to be 15.58. This is in the people ranging from twenty years to twenty-four years. In the research conducted, it was found to be 15.23 within the same age group. The mean reported by the earlier researchers claiming that the narcissism has increased in today’s young people was 15.55 (p.129). If there is any different at all, a very small difference may have been brought about by the limitations in the research.
  • The Americans have only increased on some type of individualism. They want to reach higher set goals, become wealthier, and become healthier. However, there is no evidence stating that they have become more individualistic as a whole. Additionally, the individualism problem cannot entirely be blamed on the self-enhancement movement. Other factors including the economic status of a country, the influence of the media and the children’s environment independent of self-enhancement should be assessed.
  • The type of individualism increased by narcissism has only played a partial role. Negative influences form the media, the available technology, the schools, the peers, the parenting styles amongst others should also be put into consideration. The majority of the students have grown up being told that they can make it in life if they believe in themselves. Similarly, they have also been encouraged to make the right decisions in life.
  • Some positive features are found in narcissism. Self-enhancement was brought about so that people could identify and acknowledge their self-worth. Narcissism has been attributed to the increase of an individual’s life satisfaction, extraversion, positive affect, self-esteem, amongst others. It is also associated with the short-time likeability effect on individuals. It is also has a contribution to emergent leadership, short-term successes in competitive activities and improved performances on tasks that are evaluated by the public. This includes competitions, reality shows, just to mention but a few.
  • The positive features in narcissism have enabled some people to engage in a number of things today. As earlier stated, the change in the percentage receiving a grade ‘A’ in high school between the last century and this century has been partly contributed by the self-esteem movement. However, other factors play a major role in the development of the people’s behaviors, attitudes and outcomes.
  • Sufficient evidence blaming the self-esteem movement on narcissism has not been gathered. The study conducted on California students showed that there was “no evidence of an increase in levels of the narcissism or self-enhancement since 1988,” (p.115). Although it is appreciated that the self-esteem movement may have caused some of the negative changes in the young people experienced today, it is an overstatement when the movement is blamed entirely for all these changes in the young people today.
  • The hard economics times, the media and other factors by have an influence on the people’s needs of material things. Twenge only asked the students to name their main goals in life. She did not assess other factors surrounding the students. Asserting that the students placed their material wants, as a major priority because they had been told about their self-worth and their self-esteem would be an overstatement since there is no evidence linking the two.
  • The positive esteem movement has not gone too far in encouraging the young people to appreciate and understand their worth. Many young people still struggle with self-esteem issues and self-appreciation. The negative impacts in the young people should not be entirely blamed on narcissism or self-enhancement since there is no evidence linking them. More research should be conducted on the same.


Work Cited

Slife, Brent D. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

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