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J Pers. 2008 Jul;76(4):875-902; discussion 903-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00507.x. Epub 2008 May 23.

Egos inflating over time: a cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

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1
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-4611, USA. jtwenge@mail.sdsu.edu

Abstract

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=16,475). Mean narcissism scores were significantly correlated with year of data collection when weighted by sample size (beta=.53, p<.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.

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