Narcissism Changes Throughout Life, New Study Finds

News: New research published in Psychology and Aging, found that narcissism changes over time. This longest study on narcissism till date gives hope to parents who think their teenager’s narcissism is out of control.

Narcissism is characterised by self-centeredness, a sense of entitlement, sensitivity to criticism, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, a tendency to impose opinions on others, belittle others without guilt, lack of empathy and troubled relationships.

Researchers from Michigan State University hired 750 people and studied them from age 13 to 70. Their assessment showed that qualities associated with narcissism such as — being full of yourself, sensitive to criticism and imposing your opinion on others declined over time and with age. However, character traits like having high aspirations for yourself increased with age.

People tend to adapt narcissistic qualities in response to different types of changes in life. As time passes they form new relationships, have new experiences, start families and slowly realize that it is not always about them, according to the researcher. The greatest impetus for declining narcissism, Chopik, the lead author of the study said, was landing a first job.

The researcher found that young adults are the fastest-changing age group. He also observed that unlike the popular belief, changes in the levels of narcissism are lifelong. These changes don’t stop at any particular age or stage in life.

“One of the most surprising findings was that — also contrary to what many people think — individuals who were born earlier in the century started off with higher levels of hyper-sensitivity, or the type of narcissism where people are full of themselves, as well as willfulness, which is the tendency to impose opinions on others,” Chopik said. “There isn’t much data on older generations, but now that Baby Boomers are aging into that phase of life, it’s a huge part of the population that we need to be looking at.”

The study gives insights into different types of narcissism and hope that narcissists will change for better as they get older.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Chopik, W. J., & Grimm, K. J. (2019). Longitudinal changes and historic differences in narcissism from adolescence to older adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 34(8), 1109–1123. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000379

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