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personality assessment instruments

A cross-temporal meta-analysis found that narcissism levels have risen over the generations in 85 samples of American college students who completed the 40-item forced-choice Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) between 1979 and 2006 (total n 5 16,475). Mean narcissism scores were significantly correlated with year of data collection when weighted by sample size (b 5 .53, po.001). Since 1982, NPI scores have increased 0.33 standard deviation. Thus, almost two-thirds of recent college students are above the mean 1979–1985 narcissism score, a 30% increase. The results complement previous studies finding increases in other individualistic traits such as assertiveness, agency, self-esteem, and extraversion. It is common for older people to complain about ‘‘kids these days,’’ describing the younger generation as self-centered, entitled, arrogant, and/or disrespectful. As a bromide set in a particular time, it is difficult to tell whether these perceptions are a function of age (maybe younger people are more self-centered than older people simply because they are young) or of generation (maybe the younger generation actually is more self-centered than the older generation was at the same age). It is also possible that older people will complain about the younger generation even if young people are actually less self-centered than they were when they were young themselves