Passing On Our Narcissism

If you turn your TV on these days, you can’t avoid hearing about the Casey Anthony trial going on down in Florida — the details of which are horrifying and disgusting. The case reminds me of a study I read about and am re-posting here because Casey Anthony is a poster child for this topic … on steroids. It appears that little Caylee Anthony suffered the consequences of this trend from a mother who at best (even if she is innocent of murder) found her daughter to be a severe inconvenience, and at worst, bypassed the day care option by resorting to, shall we say, a more permanent solution.

I start with the results of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) — a nationwide survey of 16,475 college students conducted between 1982 and 2006. In a nutshell, the survey revealed that the narcissistic attitudes of our youth have risen steadily over the past 25 years. In its latest iteration, two-thirds of the students demonstrated above average narcissism — up more that 30% since 1982.

Reading this reminded me of another survey conducted during the 1990s wherein a research group studying the state of American education released a report comparing the math scores of U.S. and Japanese high school students. The results were not surprising.

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