The Narcissism Epidemic Is Dead; Long Live the Narcissism Epidemic
Are recent cohorts of college students more narcissistic than their predecessors? To address debates about the so-called “narcissism epidemic,” we used data from three cohorts of students (1990s: N = 1,166; 2000s: N = 33,647; 2010s: N = 25,412) to test whether narcissism levels (overall and specific facets) have increased across generations. We also tested whether our measure, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), showed measurement equivalence across the three cohorts, a critical analysis that had been overlooked in prior research. We found that several NPI items were not equivalent across cohorts. Models accounting for nonequivalence of these items indicated a small decline in overall narcissism levels from the 1990s to the 2010s (d = −0.27). At the facet level, leadership (d = −0.20), vanity (d = −0.16), and entitlement (d = −0.28) all showed decreases. Our results contradict the claim that recent cohorts of college students are more narcissistic than earlier generations of college students.
|Keywords||cohort differences, generational changes, measurement invariance, narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Inventory, open data, preregistered|
Wetzel, E. (Eunike), Brown, A. (Anna), Hill, P.L, Chung, J.M. (Joanne M.), Robins, R.W. (Richard W.), & Roberts, B.W. (Brent W.). (2017). The Narcissism Epidemic Is Dead; Long Live the Narcissism Epidemic. Psychological Science, 28(12), 1833–1847. doi:10.1177/0956797617724208