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Youth today? Just like you were, study suggests Add to ...

Oh, the entitled youth of today: They blow their paycheques on the latest iWhatevers, refuse to pay their dues and are utterly self-obsessed.

They could learn a thing or two from their elders.

Actually, a new study suggests they're no worse than their parents.

Researchers from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., and Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., compared responses from 477,380 high-school seniors in 1976 and 2006 on the topics of egotism, self-esteem, social concern and work ethic, among others.

Their results, published in the latest issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, suggest Millennials - those born between 1982 and 2002 - are very similar to youth from the mid-seventies. There were a few exceptions: They had higher expectations of their education, were less trustful of government and more cynical about school. But, points out Brent Donnellan, an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State and co-author of the study, those changes have been noted in society as a whole.

Mr. Donnellan says that older generations' less-than-flattering perceptions of youth as lazy and materialistic are often miscalculated. "People do change from their late teens to their 30s and 40s. You're comparing yourself as an adult to a younger person who's trying to find themselves in the world."

Moreover, he warns that "these kinds of characterizations create self-fulfilling prophecies."

In other words, parents: Keep telling young Mackenzie she's as vapid and entitled as MTV star Heidi Montag and she just might start believing it …

Dakshana Bascaramurty

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