Baby Boomers complain that Generation X are slackers. Generation Xers complain that Generation Y are too needy and need constant reinforcement. Now a new study out of the University of Michigan suggests that ALL THREE GROUPS beat Millennials when it comes to caring, empathy, and worrying about others.
The school did a meta-anaylis of 72 studies of American college students over a 30 year span and measured the level of empathy using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a 28-item scale that monitors the levels of of interpersonal sensitivity by each subject. Results indicated that traits like empathy, sympathy, and kindness had taken a signifcant hit (34 percent overall) over past three decades.
The reasearchers behind the study speculate that a lot of this has to do with teenagers and college students spending way too much time focusing on themselves, talking to their friends via text and online, too much media expsoure, and an undeveloped ability to actually relate to others in a real-world setting.
“College students today may be so busy worrying about themselves and their own issues that they don’t have time to spend empathizing with others, or at least perceive such time to be limited,” notes one of the authors of the study.
Obviously this doesn’t bode very well for those students pursuing degrees in fields like pyschology, teaching, medicine, and social work. Hmm…perhaps its time you chilled on the texting and BBMing and maybe thought about doing something nice for someone else for a change like volunteering for one of your hometown charities or offering to take your little brother or sister to school so your mom can take a day off from her daily carpooling duties.