'Don't call us snowflakes!' New study suggests emerging young adults really are more sensitive

Generation snowflake aren't too keen on being labelled as such [Photo: Getty]
Generation snowflake aren't too keen on being labelled as such [Photo: Getty]

Generation Snowflake really are more flaky than older people - but maybe don’t mention it as they will probably get upset.

New research found that young adults become “distressed” by labels such as “entitled” and “narcissistic” or being described as more self-centred or oversensitive than their older counterparts.

The findings suggest that all age groups - including millennials and Generation Z themselves - believe that they are the most narcissistic and entitled.

But researchers say that millennials and Generation Z dislike the 'snowflake' characterisation, and believe it less than older generations do.

Study authors believe that academic reports and popular literature have contributed to the "widespread" idea that emerging adults - people transitioning from adolescence to adulthood - are more entitled and narcissistic than other age groups.

READ MORE: You're not an adult until you're 30, according to science

While the accuracy (and fairness) of such labels is fiercely debated among academics, few have examined how young people actually react to the labels.

To try and find out, researchers at Bowling Green State University in the United States conducted three studies.

Emerging adults don't like being labelled 'entitled' and 'narcassistic' [Photo: Getty]
Emerging adults don't like being labelled 'entitled' and 'narcassistic' [Photo: Getty]

Participants in the first study included more than 1,000 university undergraduates and 724 people from a variety of age groups in an online crowdsourcing platform.

All of them completed standard measures of personality traits and surveys about relevant stereotypes and opinions.

The results of the first study, published in the journal PLOS One, suggest that emerging adults believe adolescents and members of their own age group are indeed "exceptionally" narcissistic and entitled.

They feel that they are negative traits and they have negative reactions to the labels being applied to their age group, according to the findings.

The crowdsourcing results suggest that older adults' views of the narcissism and entitlement of teenagers and emerging adults are more exaggerated than the actual views of emerging adults themselves.

In two additional studies, the researchers examined 218 and 376 university students' reactions to excerpts of written materials describing people aged 18 to 25.

They found that the students reacted negatively to their age group being labelled as narcissistic and entitled, and they reacted with a similar degree of negativity to other "undesirable" labels, such as oversensitivity.

While further studies are needed to fully confirm and refine the findings, the research team suggest that emerging adults are aware of and believe widespread messages labelling their age group as the most narcissistic and entitled - and that they are "somewhat distressed" by the labels.

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Commenting on the findings study leader Dr Joshua Grubbs, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University, said: "All generations think that the youngest generations - millennials and Generation Z - are the most narcissistic and entitled generations.

"However, millennials and Generation Z dislike this characterisation and believe it less than older generations do."

And those offended by the results of the study above might want to look away now as Snowflakers also took a hit from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson earlier this year.

The former wrestling star slammed the younger generation — whom he has dubbed “generation snowflake” — accusing it of “putting us backwards” in a new interview.

Additional reporting SWNS