Scholars posit that economically prosperous times should produce higher individualism and narcissism, and economically challenging times lower individualism and narcissism. This creates the possibility that narcissism among U.S. college students, which increased between 1982 and 2009, may have declined after the Great Recession. Updating a cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to 2013 (k = 164, N = 35,095) and adding two within-campus analyses to 2015 (Study 2: UC Davis, N = 58,287) and 2016 (Study 3: U South Alabama, N = 14,319) revealed a non-monotonic pattern, with increases in NPI scores between 1982 and 2008 and declines thereafter. The decline in NPI scores during and after the recession took narcissism back to their original levels in the 1980s and 1990s. Implications for the interplay between economic conditions and personality traits are discussed.
Personality and Individual Differences
College of Business and Management
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Twenge, J. M., Konrath, S. H., Cooper, A. B., Foster, J. D., Keith Campbell, W., & McAllister, C. (2021). Egos deflating with the great recession: A cross-temporal meta-analysis and within-campus analysis of the narcissistic personality inventory, 1982-2016. Personality and Individual Differences, 179, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.110947