Research conducted by the University of Hampshire found that millennials today have developed an entitlement complex. The study, which was conducted in 2016, found that millennials, or those born roughly between 1988 and 1994, scored 25 percent higher on issues of entitlement than people aged 40 and 60 and 50 percent higher than the age group above 60.
The research shows a psychological trend suggesting millennials tend to belief they are more deserving of certain things and feel superior to others. This study, published on Spring.org, stated that this form of narcissism could have significant consequences for young people, a few including extreme disappointment and a tendency to lash out.
“Often times, life, health, aging and the social world don’t treat us as well as we’d like," said the study’s first author, Dr. Joshua Grubbs, in the study. “Confronting these limitations is especially threatening to an entitled person because it violates their worldview of self-superiority.”
At extreme levels, such a form of narcissism could lead to feelings of unhappiness, frustration and a cycle of disappointment in life, according to The Independent. The research, which studied 170 people, found that entitlement in young people led to a constant need for them to reassure themselves that they are special, a toxic trait.
"Part of me thinks this is accurate due to the increasingly competitive society that a lot of millennials have grown up in," Amanda Scandalios, a sophomore psychology major, said. "I believe there is a lot more pressure when it comes to what school you graduated from or what career you have. Therefore, I feel like the competitive nature of our generation does lead to more self obsessed millennials due to the idea that for one to succeed one must be better than everyone else in order to get ahead."
The study reflects a trend found in other statistics: People in the 20s are three times more likely to have narcissistic personality disorder than the generation that is now 65 years or older, according to a study done by the National Institute of Health, and 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982; the National Study of Youth and Religion found that the guiding morality of 60 percent of millennials in a situation is that they'll be able to feel what's right.
Caroline Beaton for Forbes states, “Less than half of high schoolers in 1976 expected to be managers by age 30. Today, nearly two-thirds do. Likewise, millennials expect to find their ideal job right after college. Still worse, rates of narcissistic entitlement – believing you deserve better than others – among young people are at an all-time high.”
Beaton viewed the study as an example of how standards today influence young people’s exceptions. As expectations increase, reality gets better and entitlement begins to push people forward. Viewing entitlement simply as what people think they deserve, according to Beaton, can help people stop thinking of entitlement as inherently negative.
“For example, women’s suffrage started because enough women began to see themselves as entitled to vote. Hard work, persistence and persuasion followed this core belief," Beaton said. “Conversely, low feelings of entitlement among women contribute to gender inequality in the workplace. Today, psychologists see lower entitlement as one reason women still earn and get promoted less than men, tolerate unfair pay and discrimination, and feel that they ‘don’t have a right to leisure.’”
"To think about this you have to go to the root of the cause. Maybe education, how schools now a days promote this idea of 'you are unique' and amazing to a point where you really believe it," Lara Goncalves, a Theatre and Studio Arts double major, said. "Working in the theatre world, that is so competitive, I often hear people saying 'you need to show how amazing you are' and I think that can gloat up your ego. I don't think it applies to everyone but I do think you can find people that do feel entitled now more than ever."
Entitlement resulting from reassurance provides temporary relief from the distress and disappointment the entitlement causes, according to Professor Julie Exline, the 2016 study’s co-author. To stray away from feeling entitled experts, according to Encyclopedic News, believe one must be more grateful, humble and accepting of their limitations.