Children of wealthy families are prone to high levels of narcissism, which can make them less effective leaders when they grow up, a new study has found.
The results, published Monday in the Harvard Business Review, found that leaders who grew up in wealthier households had greater levels of self-importance, and lower levels of empathy for others.
"We found that parental income is significantly related to adult levels of narcissism, a trait characterized by grandiose self-views, impulsive tendencies and low empathy," said the study, written by Sean R. Martin, Stephane Cote and Col. Todd Woodruff.
"We also found that those levels of narcissism were associated with people's engagement (or lack thereof) in important leadership behaviors and various measures of effectiveness."
The authors studied a sample of active U.S. Army soldiers who graduated from West Point and are now in leadership roles. They collected information from the soldiers' West Point applications detailing their parents' incomes, and sent participants a survey of questions designed to calculate their levels of narcissism.