"I am an important person."In the 1950s, only 12% agreed. By the late 1980s, 80% agreed.
Agreement with the following statement increased from the 1960s to the 1990s:
"I have often met people who were supposed to be experts who were no better than I."If it's true that narcissism, or "unhealthy self-focus" can increase the risk for heart disease (Narcissism And Heart Disease), it indicates another element of the health equation which can be tweaked, compared to, say, genes which are less changeable. Maybe?
Egos Inflating Over Time: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Journal of Personality, 2008.
Found that narcissism levels have risen in the last ~30 years (1979-2006), at least among college students. It was from this paper I picked up the statistics at the top of this post.
"The most recent college students score about the same on the NPI [Narcissistic Personality Inventory] as a sample of celebrities (Young & Pinsky, 2006)."What is Narcissism?
From the paper:
"Narcissism is characterized first and foremost by a positive and inflated view of the self, especially on agentic traits (e.g. power, importance, physical attractiveness).When I was growing up, it was "Type A Personality" that was related to heart attack. Here it's narcissism. There does seem to be a particular disposition that lends itself to heart troubles.
Narcissism involves a wide range of self-regulation efforts aimed at enhancing the self. These efforts can range from attention seeking and taking credit from others to seeking high-status romantic partners and opportunities to achieve public glory.
Those high in narcissism lash out with aggression when they are rejected or insulted.
Narcissism can be conceptualized as a self-regulating system, where self-esteem and enhancement are sought through a variety of social means but with little regard for the consequences borne by others."