Recent studies about personality show that the personality changes gradually with the age.
In a study, it was observed that the people in their fifties were more optimistic compared to their twenties and that they became more “tolerant” and more “conscientious” as they grew older.
What about Narcissism?
The new study, which was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, analyzed the narcissism trajectory from early adulthood to middle age. The study commenced in 1992, and the participants consisted of a group of freshmen from the University of California in Berkeley.
A series of personality tests, narcissism criteria included, were administered on the students. Furthermore, three sub-categories of narcissism, which are “leadership, arrogance and justification”, were also measured. The participants were subjected to regular personality tests for years.
The research team analyzed the data for 23 years in order to determine how narcissism and associated traits developed for a lifetime.
Surprisingly, the results of the research showed that the narcissists became less narcissist in time. It was found that the highest decrease occurred in the field of justification, while the least decrease was found to be in the field of arrogance as the age progressed.
Moreover, they also found that the changes in narcissism tended to coincide with some life experiences. For instance, people who wad less negative life experiences were found to have less probabilities in showing a decrease in terms of arrogance. It was found that early adults, who experienced irregular relationships, had a lesser chance in showing a decrease in terms of arrogance in advanced ages.
Those who had managerial positions (e.g. Budget administration, recruitment and dismissal of individuals) had a lesser chance in showing a decrease in terms of leadership.
The authors reached the following conclusion:
“On average, people become less narcissistic from young adulthood to middle age, in compliance with the principle of maturity. The severity of this reduction seems to be correlated with the career and family life the person has had throughout this process.”
Wetzel, E., Grijalva, E., Robins, R., & Roberts, B. (2019). You’re Still so Vain; Changes in Narcissism from Young Adulthood to Middle Age.