Jean Twenge

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Jean Twenge
Jean Twenge.png
Jean Twenge photographed in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Jean Marie Twenge

(1971-08-24) August 24, 1971 (age 51)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
University of Michigan (PhD)
Known foriGen
Children3 daughters[2]
Scientific career
Social psychology
Gender roles[3]
InstitutionsSan Diego State University
ThesisAssertiveness, sociability, and anxiety: a cross-temporal meta-analysis, 1928-1993 (1998) Edit this at Wikidata

Jean Marie Twenge (born August 24, 1971)[1] is an American psychologist researching generational differences, including work values, life goals, and speed of development. She is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University,[4][5][3] author, consultant, and public speaker.[6] She has examined generational differences in work attitudes,[7] life goals,[8] developmental speed,[9] sexual behavior,[10] and religious commitment.[11]

She is also known for her books iGen,[12] Generation Me[13] and The Narcissism Epidemic.[14] In the September 2017 issue of The Atlantic, Twenge argued that smartphones were the most likely cause behind the sudden increases in mental health issues among teens after 2012.[15][16] Twenge co-authored a 2017 corpus linguistics analysis that said that George Carlin's "seven dirty words you can't say on television" were used 28 times more frequently in 2008 than in 1950 in the texts at Google Books. Twenge said the increase is due to the dominance of self over social conventions.[17][18]


Twenge was educated at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan where she was awarded a PhD in 1998 for a meta-analysis of assertiveness, sociability and anxiety.[19]

Career and research[edit]

Twenge's research investigates issues around generations, personality, social psychology and gender roles.[3][5]

In 2017, Twenge wrote an article in The Atlantic asking "Have smartphones destroyed a generation?" which presented findings from her book iGen.[15] Sarah Rose Cavanagh in Psychology Today disagreed with Twenge's negative view, arguing that Twenge had ignored data supporting positive findings, presented correlation as causation, over-generalized and not taken social contexts into account.[20] Twenge responded to Cavanagh in the same publication, citing a meta-analysis and controlled experiments in support of her theories, and stating that her article and book had also highlighted positive trends. She also denied that she was outright opposed to technology: "Smartphone or internet use of up to an hour or two a day is not linked with mental health issues or unhappiness... It's two hours a day and beyond that that's the issue."[21]

Speaking to The New York Times in 2013, Jeffrey Arnett of Clark University was critical of Twenge's research on narcissism among young people, stating: "I think she is vastly misinterpreting or over-interpreting the data, and I think it's destructive", and that her conclusions on narcissism among young people were not backed up by statistical analysis of teen behaviour. His criticisms of her work also included that she relies on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which Arnett claims is inherently flawed at measuring narcissism.[22] Twenge has responded to this criticism by declaring of the NPI: " is employed in 77% of studies of narcissistic traits," and that it " also the best self-report predictor of narcissistic traits derived from clinical interviews." She also argued that "Documenting trends in young people's self-reported traits and attitudes is empirical research, not a complaint or a stereotype."[23]


Twenge's publications[3][24] include:


  1. ^ a b Jean Twenge at Library of Congress
  2. ^ "Jean M. Twenge Ph.D." Psychology Today. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Jean Twenge publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ a b "Jean Twenge Faculty page at San Diego State Univeristy".
  6. ^ Schawbel, Dan. "Jean Twenge: What Employers Need To Know About iGen". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  7. ^ Campbell, Stacy M.; Twenge, Jean M.; Campbell, W. Keith (2017-04-01). "Fuzzy But Useful Constructs: Making Sense of the Differences Between Generations". Work, Aging and Retirement. 3 (2): 130–139. doi:10.1093/workar/wax001. ISSN 2054-4642.
  8. ^ Twenge, J. M. (2012). "Generational differences in young adults' life goals, concern for others, and civic orientation, 1966-2009" (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 102 (5): 1045–1062. doi:10.1037/a0027408. PMID 22390226.
  9. ^ Twenge, Jean M.; Park, Heejung (2017). "The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976–2016". Child Development. 90 (2): 638–654. doi:10.1111/cdev.12930. ISSN 1467-8624. PMID 28925063.
  10. ^ Twenge, Jean M.; Sherman, Ryne A.; Wells, Brooke E. (2017-02-01). "Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 46 (2): 433–440. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0798-z. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 27480753. S2CID 207092404.
  11. ^ Twenge, Jean M.; Exline, Julie J.; Grubbs, Joshua B.; Sastry, Ramya; Campbell, W. Keith (2015-05-11). "Generational and Time Period Differences in American Adolescents' Religious Orientation, 1966–2014". PLOS ONE. 10 (5): e0121454. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1021454T. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121454. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4427319. PMID 25962174.
  12. ^ a b Twenge, Jean (2018). iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. New York: Atria Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1501152016.
  13. ^ a b Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled - and More Miserable Than Ever Before (Revised ed.). New York: Atria Publishing Group. 2014. ISBN 978-1476755564.
  14. ^ a b Twenge, Jean; Campbell, W. Keith (2010). The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. New York: Atria Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1416575993.
  15. ^ a b Twenge, Jean M. "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  16. ^ Denizet-Lewis, Benoit (October 11, 2017). "Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  17. ^ Twenge, Jean M.; VanLandingham, Hannah; Campbell, W. Keith (2017-08-03). "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television: Increases in the Use of Swear Words in American Books, 1950-2008". SAGE Open. 7 (3): 215824401772368. doi:10.1177/2158244017723689.
  18. ^ Alison Flood (2017-08-08). "Shocking figures: US academics find 'dramatic' growth of swearing in books". The Guardian.
  19. ^ Twenge, Jean Marie (1998). Assertiveness, sociability, and anxiety: a cross-temporal meta-analysis, 1928-1993. (PhD thesis). University of Michigan. hdl:2027.42/131113. OCLC 714661433. ProQuest 304444254.
  20. ^ Cavanagh, Sarah Rose (August 6, 2017). "No, Smartphones are Not Destroying a Generation". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  21. ^ Twenge, Jean (2017). "Making iGen's Mental Health Issues Disappear". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  22. ^ Quenqua, Douglas (2013-08-05). "Seeing Narcissists Everywhere". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  23. ^ Jean M. Twenge (2013-03-01). "Overwhelming Evidence for Generation Me: A Reply to Arnett". Emerging Adulthood. 1 (1): 21–26. doi:10.1177/2167696812468112. ISSN 2167-6968. S2CID 144599650.
  24. ^ Jean Twenge publications from Europe PubMed Central
  25. ^ Twenge, Jean; Myers, David G. (2012). Social Psychology (13th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-1260085280.
  26. ^ Twenge, Jean; Campbell, W. Keith (2016). Personality Psychology: Understanding Yourself and Others. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0205917426.
  27. ^ Twenge, Jean (2017). The Impatient Woman's Guide to Getting Pregnant. New York: Atria Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1451620702.