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A Study Shows That Boomers Are Indeed More Sensitive Than Millennials

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Older folks like to treat younger generations like they’re soft – as if they get their feelings hurt over small slights and aren’t tough enough to walk uphill both ways to school in the snow – but the data coming out of a very long, thorough psychological study says that’s not at all true.

Basically, millennials (and GenX and GenZ) have one more reason to roll their eyes the next time an older person calls them a snowflake.

The study, published in Psychology and Aging, investigated narcissistic behavior between generations using six data sets that followed almost 750 people born between 1923 and 1969. They found that the earlier in the 20th century someone was born, the more likely they were to display high levels of hypersensitivity.

Regardless of generation, the study also showed that people do tend to become less narcissistic as they age.

Lead author William Chopik released a statement saying,

“There’s a narrative in our culture that generations are getting more narcissistic, but no one has ever looked at it through generations or how it varies with age at the same time. One of the most surprising findings was that – also contrary to what many people think – individuals who were born earlier in the century started off with higher levels of hyper-sensitivity, or the type of narcissism where people are full of themselves, as well as willfulness, which is the tendency to impose opinions on others.”

In sum: there’s little to no evidence that the younger generations are “weaker” or less hardy than any that came before them.

Levels of narcissism remain relatively stable across a person’s lifespan, though some aspects do wane with age: things like being full of yourself and trying to make others live according to your opinions.

On the other hand, having high aspirations for yourself increase as we age.

“There are things that happen in life that can shake people a little bit, and force them to adapt their narcissistic qualities. As you age, you form new relationships, have new experiences, start a family and so on. All of these factors make someone realize that it’s not ‘all about them,’” Chopik continued.

And get this: younger generations (i.e. teenagers today) are more well-behaved than any other in recent history. They’re also eschewing alcohol, cigarettes (I’m guessing e-cigs weren’t counted?) and teen sex by way wider margins than previous recent generations.

There you go, my fellow snowflakes. I guess we’ll all just sit here and not melt together (as the Earth warms around us), because we’re tough like that.