Narcissism tracked from young adulthood to middle age

Posted on September 13, 2019

A study conducted by researchers from various universities examined the changes in level of narcissism in individuals during the period between young adulthood and middle age. The study found that the decrease in narcissist attitudes as an individual matures is associated with the individual’s career and relationships.

Participants who were recruited for the study were assessed twice – once when they were 18 and again when they are 41 years old. The assessment involved participants answering a questionnaire that measures narcissistic traits. During the second round of assessment, participants were also asked about their personal relationships, physical and mental well-being as well as their job satisfaction.

Researchers emphasized on the vanity of the participants, their beliefs about their own leadership qualities and how often or likely they are to feel entitled. Each aspect of narcissism is related to certain negative and positive outcomes for the participants.

Individuals who showed higher vanity when they were 18 years old tended to have more unstable relationships and had had higher rates of divorce when they reached middle age. However, they also had better health at 41 years old. On the other hand, individuals who feel more entitled when they were 18 experienced more adverse life events and reported to have lower life satisfaction during middle age.

Vanity seemed to be associated to life events, as results indicated that a decline in vanity is linked to individuals entering serious relationships or becoming parents. However, the decline in vanity was lesser in adults who had undergone more adverse life events. Youths who were narcissistic were also found to be take on more leadership roles during adulthood. These individuals showed lesser decrease in narcissism over the period of 23 years, hence suggesting that such influential roles sustained their levels of narcissism.

Generally, most participants showed lower levels of narcissism during the follow-up study when they were 41 years old. Researchers have thus noted that we should not be too worried about the higher levels of narcissism in young adults, as the personality trait tends to become milder as they mature.

Category(s):Personality problems

Source material from Science Daily