Briefs Thoughts on Media Reports

The UK Dailymail reports on remarks made by a British psychologist during the Association for School and College Leaders conference. According to the article, during this conference Dr Carol Craig, the chief executive of the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing, warned that constant praising was turning children into narcissists. Yet, the article does not provide any reports of research that would support this premise. For example, this claim would suggest that there has been an increase in the levels of narcissism among children and adolescents over the past years or decades. Is this true? Are there data to support this premise?

Well, it appears that, although the data are not free of contradictions, the answer is yes. Dr. Jean Twenge at San Diego University has been following the trends in narcissism over the years and has often reported steady increases in narcissism during the last 3 decades (see for example Twenge et al., 2008. Journal of Personality, 76, 2).

But we still have the direct question of whether praising children increases narcissism, and if so, what kind of praising, and under what conditions?

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