Recent research has suggested that increasing number of Americans (not sure about other nationalities/cultures) born in the 1970s to early 1980s (Generation X) as well as in the 1990s (Millennials) are suffering from an epidemic of narcissism as a consequence of the emphasis placed on self-esteem and self-promotion in modern parenting and the media, and fed by Internet social networking sites (like Personality Café) that reinforce an obsessive need for admiration and ego-enhancement (see also most recent reality TV shows – particularly egregious is My Super Sweet 16 on MTV). Indeed, some researchers have grouped these cohorts into a single cohort, labeling it “Generation Me” (See Twenge & Campbell 2009 The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement). In 2007, 60 Minutes focused on the work ethic and expectations of Millennials…money quote: “You now have a generation coming into the workplace that has grown up with the expectation that they will automatically win, and they'll always be rewarded, even for just showing up” (The "Millennials" Are Coming - 60 Minutes - CBS News).
Let’s define narcissism. Social psychologists argue that narcissists are characterized by (1) a positive and inflated view of the self, especially on agentic traits (e.g., power, importance, physical attractiveness); (2) typically display social extraversion, although people high in narcissism have relatively little interest in forming warm, emotionally intimate bonds with others; (3) employ a wide range of self-regulation efforts aimed at enhancing the self (e.g., attention seeking, taking credit from others, seeking high-status romantic partners, and searching for opportunities to achieve public glory). Further, those high in narcissism also tend to lash out with aggression when they are rejected or insulted. In sum, narcissism can be conceptualized as a self-regulating system, where self-esteem and enhancement are sought through a variety of social means but with little regard for the consequences borne by others (Narcissism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
I would like to open this up for discussion with the following questions in mind:
Are newer generational Americans more narcissistic in their view of self, deserving the label “Generation Me”?
Do social networking sites (and blogs) promote narcissism?
Do you think that the “self-esteem” movement does more harm than good?