Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Narcissistic College Students

As if we didn't already know this, a recent study shows that current college students are more narcissistic than ever before.

Narcissists are "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors," according to the article.

It seems to describe many of my students too well . . . .


lammers said...

So ... tell me again WHY you became a college professor? I mean, you evince such a negative opinion of today's youth, at every opportunity, that I really wonder why you chose this line of work. It must be terribly stressful for you, having to deal on a daily basis with folks who upset you so.

Whatever personal shortcomings our students may display are largely the result of inexperience and ignorance. Those are precisely the things that we, as professors, can help them overcome. We make a lot more headway in doing that if we sidle up next to them and say in a helpful tone, "Say, friend, you might want to do that THIS way," or "Have you ever considered that this is a sub-optimal approach to things?" rather than scowling at them judgmentally, "Jeez, you're really an idiot, aren't you?"

Almost every "crime" we might accuse our students of, I myself was guilty of at one time. I was young, I was foolish, I made bad choices. Fortunately, there were people in my life who took the time to educate me, to advise me, and to tune me up, in addition to those who were content to write me off as just another of those lazy shiftless hippies.

I want to be that kind of person to students who are willing to listen and ready to hear the message. I can't do that if I let myself take a negative attitude towards them.

Anonymous said...

Well that quaint narcissism diagnosis is most of all why we don't want clinical psychology types involved in anything important :-). Doesn't it just make you want to make THEM take that test?(of course it wouldn't work, they know all the right answers to the questions.)

Note that they state that they are basing this on 16,475 samples over
*25 years*. That would be something
like 659 per year. Is that kind of
sample size reasonable to draw a conclusion about all college students? One could certainly challenge such a study to prove it was a valid sample of the underlying population.

Further it would seem to me that the narcissism measurement is very flawed. Any instrument that diagnoses 2/3 of the sample as having a personality disorder is an instrument that was not calibrated. They could take a cue from the IQ test (if they had a clue).

However I think this appeals to people because there *is* a gap between college age people and older people and that's what should be addressed. I have to admit I've been at activist themed meetings with college students where I got so disaffected with them I never went to another meeting, despite that everyone presumably started on the same page in terms of politics. There's a culture/personality clash potential there that is huge. It would probably better be addressed by framing it as a mismatch between
behavior norms between the groups rather than stating up front one group has a personality disorder and the other doesn't.

Anonymous said...

It's great that you're an anonymous blogger, because I would really hate knowing one of my professors harbored such cynical feelings about his/her students.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I have many great, dedicated students. UWO, in fact, has a very reasonable proportion of you. It is noticeably better than the private schools at which I have taught.

However, there are too many who are not serious about their education, have to be cajoled or threatened to come to class, turn in low quality work, and then complain that they are not responsible for their low grades.

How many students have decided to leave early for Spring break next week? Obviously for many, vacation is more important than their education.

I find my pleasure in interacting with those who want to be here. I struggle with what do to with those who don't.