Recent college graduates are frequently portrayed as a lazy, irresponsible and self-obsessed group of young adults. But a new study says that those who graduated into the recession may actually be less narcissistic in the long run. That means young adults who graduated into the Great Recession of 2008, and who've been feeling the effects ever since, can at least take some comfort in what this may mean for them down the road.
According to a study published this month in Psychological Sciences, those who begin adulthood during a bad economy are less narcissistic later in life. Analyzing data from three separate research groups showed that those who entered into adulthood (or, were ages 18-25) during the highest rates of unemployment were less narcissistic, even years later.
The first part of the study focused on data from over 1,500 participants, born between 1947 and 1994, and who completed online surveys that analyzed their narcissistic tendencies.
The second part of the study analyzed face-to-face interviews from over 30,000 adults, rating levels of narcissism on an 18-point system. Data from both sets of participants showed that those who came of age during high periods of unemployment were less likely to regard themselves as unique, special and deserving.
A third portion of the study explored how those who graduated into a depressed economy valued themselves in compensation.
Salary data from over 2,000 CEOs of publicly traded companies in the United States were examined. The data showed that CEOs who came of age in economic downturns paid themselves lower salaries than CEOs who came of age during economic booms.
So, those recent graduates who have struggled for months to find unpaid internships, let alone a job, may end up putting the rest of us to shame with their gracious natures for years to come!