A study reveals that baby boomers are more sensitive than millennials, sparking a heated debate among users about older generations, with many people providing personal experiences to support the findings.
There's nothing new about the gap in differences between boomers and millennials, with conflicts often arising around issues like politics, economic opportunities, and cultural values.
But apparently, there’s also a difference between these two generations when it comes to personality traits, particularly sensitivity, with a study on narcissism revealing that baby boomers have a higher degree of sensitivity compared to millennials. Let's delve into the study.
The Study Reveals How Narcissism Changes from Young to Old Age
The 2019 study on Phycology and Aging aims to address the increase of narcissism in recent history, however, it is hindered by a lack of comprehensive information on how narcissism evolves throughout an adult's life.
The reason for this is that previous research has been limited by its dependence on cross-sectional samples or its emphasis on college students, and has not been able to observe changes in narcissism over a long period.
The study aimed at addressing these limitations by examining the longitudinal changes in the narcissism of 747 participants, 72.3% of whom were female, from the ages of 13 to 77. The sample was composed of six groups of participants born between 1923 and 1969. The research found that narcissism was moderately stable over the lifespan, with a range of rs from .37 to .52, similar to other psychological characteristics.
The study found that certain maladaptive forms of narcissism, such as hypersensitivity and willfulness, decreased across life and individual autonomy increased across life. Compared with earlier-born birth cohorts, more later-born birth cohorts were lower in hypersensitivity and higher in autonomy, especially among those born after the 1930s.
These findings are interpreted in relation to the drivers of both changes in narcissism throughout life and notable distinctions in narcissism between different eras.
Reddit Community Backs Study’s Findings
It seems that the results of this extensive study on narcissism are quite accurate, as many people on Reddit have confirmed it and even shared their experiences with 'sensitive' boomers.
“As someone that works in technical support, i could have filled out this study for them. The amount of yelling anger and hysterical customers that are older vs younger is easily 4 to 1. Computers at home have been around for 40 years, smart phones for over ten, don’t give me this “we didn’t grow up with them crap” anymore,” one wrote.
“A week in customer service will tell you that,” a second shared.
“100%, worked in Cafes, Bars, shops and almost every bad experience I’ve had has been an older person,” a third agreed.
This generation gap is also evident between some people and their parents. One user shared how their mom disregards anything she doesn't agree with:
"Stop being so negative" is my boomer mom's way of shutting down anything she disagrees with, whatever the topic. She refuses to use any type of mobile phone. She's been using a computer for 30+ years now and still doesn't understand many of the basic functions. When taught, she forgets within a week or two and reverts to complaining about it again. She doesn't care enough to learn anything now unless it reinforces her worldview for the ever-important culture war.”
One person argued that boomers describe younger people as sensitive, while they themselves are not open to new ideas:
“Doesn't surprise me. Boomers calling younger generations sensitive but the moment you challenge what they think they get b...t hurt more than anyone”
Another added that older generations are not particularly kind despite their sensitivity: “boomers They may be sensitive but they aren’t kind.”
But it seems like millennials aren’t the only ones with negative experiences with boomer’s sensitivity, “GenX: we know,” a user wrote.
To which someone replied: “Yep. Hardly needed a study to know this. My mom could be a case study.”
An Ongoing Issue
The discussions surrounding this study clearly highlight the vast differences between generations, which often lead to conflicts between older and younger people, and it seems that this will continue to be an ongoing issue.
But whether you're a boomer, millennial, or even a Gen Xer, and regardless of whether you agree with this psychological research or not, it's important to remember that not all individuals of a certain generation fit a certain stereotype and it's essential to maintain an open-minded attitude and listen to different perspectives and ideas from people of all ages.
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Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.