Why are younger generations so sensitive

Baby boomers are more sensitive than millennials, according to a study

  • The largest study of narcissism to date looked specifically at people's “hypersensitivity” to find out how narcissistic they are.
  • The results suggest that contrary to popular belief, millennials are no more sensitive than the baby boomer generation. It's more like the other way around.
  • You can find more articles on Business Insider.

A new study found that contrary to popular belief, millennials are no more sensitive than the baby boomer generation. In fact, it's actually the other way around.

The study, in which almost 750 people took part, was published on December 10 in the journal “Psychology and Aging”. It is the largest study of narcissism to date. In it, the researchers examined six previously collected data sets to better understand how narcissistic traits differ between generations and how the levels of narcissism change as people age.

Previous studies only looked at generational or individual trends in narcissistic behavior, but not both at the same time like this study.

In the case of a narcissistic personality disorder, the person concerned has an inflated sense of their own importance and can show little empathy for others. These are typical mechanisms used to hide low self-esteem, according to the health-specialist Mayo Clinic. These behaviors can also be milder. In this case, a person exhibits one or two narcissistic traits, but not a complete personality disorder.

For the current study, the researchers looked at people aged 13 to 77 with whom they had interviewed about their work, personality, and family life. The psychologists and psychiatrists analyzed these and then rated them on a scale from one to five, with five representing most of the narcissistic traits such as defense, authority and stubbornness.

The researchers used the term "hypersensitivity" to determine a person's level of defensiveness. William Chopik, a psychologist for social personality at Michigan State University and co-author of the study, defines it as meaning that an oversensitive person does not take in the feedback of other people and rejects any criticism of himself.

The researchers found that people from younger generations are less hypersensitive than those from older generations. This leads to the conclusion that younger people, who are currently between 23 and 38 years old, are less prone to sensitivity than the baby boomer generation, which includes people between 55 and 73 years of age.

Most people become less narcissistic with age

In general, people became less sensitive with increasing age and the researchers found that hypersensitivity decreased sharply after the age of 40. When looking at generation-specific trends, however, the researchers found that older generations were overall more sensitive than younger ones.

According to Chopik, this could be due to generation-specific events that shaped the life views of the study participants.

In the United States, for example, "baby boomers might be more narcissistic than other generations because they grew up in a time when government provided privileges like social security," Chopnik said. He noted that the increase in narcissistic traits between baby boomers and millennials has been relatively small.

However, the study has some limitations. For example, the researchers relied on existing data sets for their analysis instead of researching people of different generations themselves for decades. Chopik also noted that narcissism can be measured in a number of different ways and they only used one of these methods, which could skew the results.

The study nevertheless offers assessments of the narrative that younger generations are naturally more self-centered than older ones.

"Based on our study, there is little evidence that this [younger] generation is the worst in human history," said Chopik. He hopes the results of his team will ease parents 'fear that their teenagers' narcissistic behavior will never change.

“We know younger people are generally more narcissistic, but that goes away as they get older. The experience people have throughout their lives help reduce their narcissism. "

This article was translated from English by Arunika Senarath. You can find the original here.