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College campuses are becoming hotbeds for narcissism, especially among women, according to a new study by a professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

The study, published in the recent issue of Journal of Research in Personality, evaluated more than 20,000 college students between 2002 and 2007 and found that symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder were more prevalent than they were in a previous group of students. People who suffer from the disorder tend to be overly self-centered, overconfident and have a hard time being empathetic of others.

The results were similar to the findings of another study that found nearly one out of 10 people in their 20s had experienced symptoms of the disorder at sometime in their life, compared to only 3 percent of people over the age of 60 — even though older people have had many more years to develop such problems, according to the release.

And the study showed narcissism increased more in women than men. “The narcissism epidemic seems to have hit girls especially hard,” said Jean Twenge, the SDSU professor who co-authored the study, in a news release. “From Internet sites to reality TV, they see narcissistic behavior portrayed as normal.”

Twenge is well-known for her research into narcissism, and is the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable than Ever Before.”

DAVID WASHBURN

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