Rethinking “Generation Me”: A Study of Cohort Effects from 1976-2006

@article{Trzesniewski2010RethinkingM,
  title={Rethinking “Generation Me”: A Study of Cohort Effects from 1976-2006},
  author={Kali Trzesniewski and M. Brent Donnellan},
  journal={Perspectives on Psychological Science},
  year={2010},
  volume={5},
  pages={58 - 75}
}
Social commentators have argued that changes over the last decades have coalesced to create a relatively unique generation of young people. However, using large samples of U.S. high-school seniors from 1976 to 2006 (Total N = 477,380), we found little evidence of meaningful change in egotism, self-enhancement, individualism, self-esteem, locus of control, hopelessness, happiness, life satisfaction, loneliness, antisocial behavior, time spent working or watching television, political activity… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

The Evidence for Generation Me and Against Generation We
According to the empirical evidence, today’s emerging adults (Millennials/GenY, born after 1980) are more Generation Me than Generation We when compared to previous generations. Five data sets show a
Generational Changes in Materialism and Work Centrality, 1976-2007
TLDR
When materialistic values increased, work centrality steadily declined, suggesting a growing discrepancy between the desire for material rewards and the willingness to do the work usually required to earn them.
Time Period, Generational, and Age Differences in Tolerance for Controversial Beliefs and Lifestyles in the United States, 1972–2012
Americans have become increasingly tolerant of controversial outgroups in results from the nationally representative General Social Survey (1972–2012, N = 35,048). Specifically, adults in the 2010s
Overwhelming Evidence for Generation Me
Documenting trends in young people’s self-reported traits and attitudes is empirical research, not a complaint or a stereotype. Rising cultural individualism has both good consequences (more gender
Generational Increases in Agentic Self-evaluations among American College Students, 1966–2009
Compared to previous generations, more American college students now rate themselves as above average on attributes such as academic ability, drive to achieve, leadership ability, public speaking
Generational differences in young adults' life goals, concern for others, and civic orientation, 1966-2009.
TLDR
The results generally support the 'Generation Me' view of generational differences rather than the "Generation The authors" or no change views.
Secular Trends and Personality: Perspectives from Longitudinal and Cross-Cultural Studies—Commentary on Trzesniewski & Donnellan (2010)
  • A. Terracciano
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2010
TLDR
Analysis of adult personality scores from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging provide little support for powerful secular effects on Neuroticism and Extraversion; evidence supports a secular trend of declining trust, along with additional small effects on other facets of personality.
Are Today's Young Accountants Different? An Intergenerational Comparison of Three Psychological Attributes
SYNOPSIS: Much has been written about the so-called “millennial generation.” Many commentators believe that Millennials possess values and preferences that render them qualitatively different from
The Evidence for Generation We and Against Generation Me
This article addresses the question of whether today’s emerging adults are excessively “narcissistic” as claimed by Jean Twenge and others. The answer is a decisive “no.” There is no persuasive
Political to Personal: Shifts in Youths' Attitudes Following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Race and Election.
TLDR
Results indicated a rise across cohorts in future pessimism and nihilism after 2015, driven by youth identified as Democrat rather than Republican, whereas a rise in concern for others was similarly driven by Democrat youth, whereas the rise in value of diversity was shared across all political identities.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 96 REFERENCES
Is “Generation Me” Really More Narcissistic Than Previous Generations?
ABSTRACT In this commentary, we identify several methodological and conceptual issues that undermine Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, and Bushman's (this issue) claim that narcissism levels have
Do Today's Young People Really Think They Are So Extraordinary?
TLDR
Investigation of secular trends in narcissism and self-enhancement over the past three decades found no evidence that college students' scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory increased from the 1980s through 2007, although it did find small changes in specific facets of narcissism.
Changes in the need for social approval, 1958–2001☆
It's Beyond My Control: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Increasing Externality in Locus of Control, 1960-2002
  • J. Twenge, Liqing Zhang, Charles Im
  • Psychology
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2004
TLDR
Two meta-analyses found that young Americans increasingly believe their lives are controlled by outside forces rather than their own efforts, consistent with an alienation model positing increases in cynicism, individualism, and the self-serving bias.
Generation Me, the Origins of Birth Cohort Differences in Personality Traits, and Cross‐temporal Meta‐analysis
Birth cohort, or generation, differences in personality include views of the self (increases in self-esteem, narcissism, assertiveness, and agentic traits, leading to the label ‘Generation Me’) and
Age and Birth Cohort Differences in Self-Esteem: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis
A meta-analytic review finds that college students' self-esteem increased substantially between 1968 and 1994 when measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE). Children's scores on the
Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before
The Associated Press calls them 'the entitlement generation', and they are storming into schools, colleges, and businesses all over the country. They are today's young people, a new generation with
The age of anxiety? Birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticism, 1952-1993.
  • J. Twenge
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 2000
TLDR
Two meta-analyses find that Americans have shifted toward substantially higher levels of anxiety and neuroticism during recent decades, and Birth cohort, as a proxy for broad social trends, may be an important influence on personality development, especially during childhood.
Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community
TLDR
Drawing on evidence that includes nearly half a million interviews conducted over a quarter of a century in America, Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors are isolating Americans from each other in a trend whose reflection can clearly be seen in British society.
Changes in culture, changes in personality: the influence of individualism in a longitudinal study of women.
TLDR
Increases in individualism may have helped women respond to radical changes in women's roles during the late 1960s and 1970s, and were associated with increases in self-focus (narcissism) and decreases in norm adherence.
...
...