'Narcissism creep?': Evidence for Age-Related Differences in Narcissism in the New Zealand General Population

Wilson, Marc Stewart; Sibley, Chris G.
November 2011
New Zealand Journal of Psychology;Nov2011, Vol. 40 Issue 3, p89
Academic Journal
International research has suggested that levels of narcissism (excessive belief in self-worth, associated with excessive self-promotion and enhancement) vary across the lifespan, such that younger people are more narcissistic than their older forebears. Indeed, it has even been suggested that this represents a generational (rather than developmental) effect--younger people are more narcissistic now than they used to be. The majority of this research, however, has been conducted in the United States, and to date there has been no consideration of whether this age-related pattern extends to New Zealand. In two general population samples (N's 6,507 and 2,525) that completed measures of narcissism (an abridged Psychological Entitlement Scale and the full Narcissistic Personality Inventory, respectively), we report evidence of a curvilinear age-effect. Increasing age was associated with lower narcissism scores (flattening as age increased), and males recorded higher narcissism scores than females. This research provides normative data for the baseline rates of narcissism across men and women of different ages in the New Zealand population in 2009. However, while this provides evidence for age-related differences in narcissism it does not, in itself, provide evidence for a cultural narcissism shift.


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