Young people have a “fantasy gap” between their desire for wealth and their willingness to work hard to achieve it, psychologists have found.

Researchers in the United States compared the materialism and work ethic of three generations of high school seniors.

They found a growing disparity between teenagers’ materialism and desire to work.

Prof Jean Twenge, of San Diego State University, who led the research, said: “Compared to previous generations, recent high school graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things, but less likely to say they are willing to work hard to earn them.

“That type of ‘fantasy gap’ is consistent with other studies showing a generational increase in narcissism and entitlement.”

The researchers drew from a survey of 355,000 US high school seniors conducted from 1976 to 2007.

The survey examined the materialistic values of three generations with questions focused on the perceived importance of having a lot of money and material goods, as well as the willingness to work hard.

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