Michael Steger

Michael Steger
Colorado State University | CSU · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

124
Publications
294,765
Reads
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15,236
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2011 - present
North-West University
Position
  • Extraordinary Professor
August 2008 - present
Colorado State University
August 2006 - December 2008
University of Louisville
Education
August 2000 - August 2005
Metropolitan State University
Field of study
  • Counseling Psychology; Personality Psychology
September 1995 - May 1997
University of Oregon
Field of study
  • Counseling
September 1988 - May 1992
Macalester College
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (124)
Article
Full-text available
Previous research indicates that sensation seeking, emotion dysregulation, and impulsivity are predictive of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). A body of research supports that meaning in life predicts improved mental health and well-being, including fewer suicidal thoughts and attempts, yet no research has examined the moderating effects of meaning...
Article
Full-text available
Meaning in life has grown into a topic of great interest in psychological research. Conceptually, scholars differentiate between sources and components of meaning. However, the current scholarly views on meaning are highly cognitive and it is unclear to what extent they correspond with the understanding of lay people with cognitive difficulties, li...
Preprint
Individuals who survive natural hazards often develop posttraumatic stress symptoms or other forms of psychological distress. However, some experience psychological growth. Given that the probability that such events will increase in the near future due to global warming, it would probably be helpful to examine predictors of growth across different...
Article
Full-text available
PurposeA sense of meaning and purpose is important for people living with acute and chronic illness. It can buffer the effects of stress and facilitate adaptive coping. As part of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), we developed and validated an item response theory (IRT)-based measure of meaning and purpose in li...
Article
Individuals who survive natural hazards often develop posttraumatic stress symptoms or other forms of psychological distress. However, some experience psychological growth. Given that natural hazards will increase in the near future due to global warming, it would be helpful to examine predictors of growth across different kinds of natural hazards....
Chapter
In a long list of qualities that make us “uniquely human,” our capacity and urge to seek after an ultimate, abstract meaning for our lives surely must take a position near the top. Perhaps another entry might be our propensity to look for resources to help us understand our role as parent, learn how to be better at performing this role, and purchas...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to establish a method for assessing implicit meaning in life (MIL), as well as to determine the relationship between implicit MIL and explicit MIL. This study also tested the hypothesis that implicit MIL would moderate the relationship between explicit MIL and depression. The participants were 242 undergraduate university students...
Article
Purpose: Despite the theoretical and empirical significance of positive aspects of caregiving in caregiver well-being, relatively little is known regarding family-related predictors of caregiver positivity. This study examines whether patient-family communication (p-f communication) mediates the relation between family hardiness and caregiver posit...
Article
Meaningfulness of work has been cited as one of many psychological reasons for and benefits of working. Although prior research has theorized that meaningfulness of work is an antecedent of retirement, little empirical research has been conducted to investigate meaningfulness of work in relation to retirement plans and behavior. Using panel data fr...
Article
Full-text available
Although the number of older workers in the U.S. is increasing, there is a gap in knowledge on whether or not they actually enjoy working. This study, based on a conceptual framework focusing on job resources and demands, explored likely workplace determinants of work enjoyment among older workers aged 50 or over. Using the 2012 wave of the Health...
Article
With more individuals wanting their work to be meaningful, rather than just a source of income, more organizations recognize that fostering meaningful work is crucial for engaging their employees. Although scholars from diverse disciplines have made valuable efforts to examine how individual, job, organizational, and societal factors contribute to...
Article
Purpose: The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is a National Institutes of Health initiative designed to improve patient-reported outcomes using state-of-the-art psychometric methods. The aim of this study is to describe qualitative efforts to identify and refine items from psychological well-being subdomains for fu...
Article
Full-text available
Positive affect (PA) has consistently been shown to predict meaning in life (MIL). In one of the first investigations to examine multiple predictors of MIL simultaneously, we tested in three studies the hypothesis that satisfactions associated with being benevolent and fulfilling psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are mor...
Chapter
Meaning in life is the term used to describe how people make sense of their lives, how they commit to pursuing purpose in life, and how they come to see their lives as significant and worthwhile. Committing wrongs against other people or our own moral code, might—perhaps even ought to—challenges these components of a meaningful life. In fact, such...
Poster
Since the year 2000, FEMA has recorded over 2,056 natural disasters in the United States, 28% of which were classified as floods (FEMA; Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2016). Natural disasters, such as floods, are potentially traumatic events that can drastically impact communities along with the physical and psychological well-being of member...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter reviews current theory, assessment, and research on meaningful work with the hopes that a better understanding might enable meaningful work to be cultivated and harnessed to maximize performance, build strong brands, nurture innovation, and benefit both employees and their host communities while they are at it. Building on a long tradi...
Chapter
This chapter explores the nature of the psychology of positivity and how strengths&;#x02010;based approaches are used with individuals and organizations. Positive psychology has emerged as the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing intrapersonally, interpersonally and collectively. The chapter offers an up&;#x02010;to&;#x020...
Chapter
Psychology’s recent interest in the philosophical debate regarding hedonia and eudaimonia has added richness to conceptualizations of flourishing, but this chapter argues that a more psychological model of hedonia and eudaimonia would free the field from “conceptual confusion” and stimulate new research approaches. This chapter presents a model whe...
Book
This handbook makes a unique contribution to organizational psychology and HRM by providing comprehensive international coverage of the contemporary field of positivity and strengths-based approaches at work. It provides critical reviews of key topics such as resilience, wellbeing, hope, motivation, flow, authenticity, positive leadership and engag...
Article
Identity formation in adolescence is closely linked to searching for and acquiring meaning in one’s life. To date little is known about the manner in which these 2 constructs may be related in this developmental stage. In order to shed more light on their longitudinal links, we conducted a 3-wave longitudinal study, investigating how identity proce...
Article
Objective: To determine how the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) affects the quality of life (QoL) of its exemplary paraprofessional educators. Methods: Qualitative telephone interviews with EFNEP supervisors (15), educators (28), and agency partners (15). Template analysis based on the University of Toronto's QoL constructs...
Chapter
Full-text available
Positive psychology seeks to build a science that offers pathways to optimal functioning and experience. Two of the most exciting areas of scholarship within positive psychology are mindfulness and meaning in life. Here, we seek to examine how these two concepts may be integrated into solutions for those in high-demand occupations. This chapter is...
Article
Full-text available
Although research relying on self-report inventories has built an increased appreciation of the importance of meaning in life, such research has strayed somewhat from the original promise of meaning in life research, which was to shed light on the individual experience of meaning. Some research has focused on understanding people's sources of meani...
Data
Full-text available
Understanding how adolescents achieve meaning in life has important implications for their psychological development. A social cognitive model of meaning development was tested by assessing psychological (self efficacy, self-regulation and social comparison) and parental (parental responsiveness, demandingness, and social support) variables in a sa...
Article
Full-text available
Despite growing interest in meaning in life, many have voiced their concern over the conceptual refinement of the construct itself. Researchers seem to have two main ways to understand what meaning in life means: coherence and purpose, with a third way, significance, gaining increasing attention. Coherence means a sense of comprehensibility and one...
Article
Meaning in life (MIL) is a fundamental building block of well-being, and MIL theory heavily emphasizes the importance of using self-knowledge to identify what makes life meaningful and to select suitable purposes to pursue in life. However, few studies have investigated this important theoretical point. The purpose of the present study was to inves...
Article
We examined whether American college students who perceive their college environment as supportive for their meaning searching report higher levels of meaning in life. We also examined whether students’ perception of college environmental support for meaning searching moderates the relation between the presence of and search for meaning. Students’...
Book
Full-text available
According to Gallup polls, more than 40 percent of Americans report having had a profound religious experience or awakening that changed the direction of their lives. What are the potential mental, spiritual, and even physical benefits of following the call to take a particular path in life? This standout book addresses the full range of calling ex...
Article
Full-text available
The present longitudinal study investigated the incremental contribution of meaning in life to sustaining health-promoting behaviors, after controlling for well-being and health values among East-European adolescents (N = 456). Time 1 responses on presence of meaning, search for meaning, well-being, and health values were used to predict levels of...
Article
Full-text available
A substantial body of research has grown around the thesis that meaning in life is vital to psychological health and well-being. The majority of this research has focused on individual well-being, whether people feel happy and relatively free of psychological disorders and mental distress. Across hundreds of studies, meaning in life has been linked...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Posttrauma adjustment theories postulate that intense stressors violate people's beliefs about the world and perceived ability to achieve valued goals. Failure to make meaning from traumatic events exacerbates negative adjustment (e.g., PTSD), whereas success facilitates positive adjustment (e.g., stress-related growth). The current study...
Article
Full-text available
Mounting research has demonstrated relationships between meaning in life (MIL) and a wide range of health-relevant outcomes, including health symptoms, health-promoting behaviors, health-risking behaviors, cognitive decline, and mortality. Despite these provocative results, there have been few efforts to explain why meaning and health should be lin...
Chapter
Full-text available
Each individual is free, and inevitably responsible, to determine the parameters of his or her life, what is best to suffer for, connect with, choose, and believe. This chapter explores how two different traditions have examined such ultimate concerns of life. The existential perspective and the positive psychology perspective are evaluated with an...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose and meaning in career development is a rapidly growing, cross-disciplinary area of research and practice in which counseling and vocational psychology aligns with positive psychology to yield promising applications to career counseling. We provide a brief overview of theory related to purpose and meaning in work, then review six specific ar...
Chapter
Full-text available
As research increasingly suggests the potential benefits of meaning and purpose, the question of how to develop and cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose naturally holds significance. In this chapter, we briefly review existing meaning-oriented interventions and discuss their limitations. We next provide several intervention strategies based on...
Article
Full-text available
Social relationships are seen to be vital to human functioning, both in terms of psychological functioning and physical health. Relationships are a cornerstone of well-being. For instance, having positive relationships has been linked to greater happiness, life satisfaction and physical health outcomes. Meaning in life, or the perception that one's...
Article
Full-text available
Although research relying on self-report inventories has built an increased appreciation of the importance of meaning in life, such research has strayed somewhat from the original promise of meaning in life research, which was to shed light on the individual experience of meaning. Some research has focused on understanding people’s sources of meani...
Article
Determine whether the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) affects the quality of life (QOL) of its participants and educators. Longitudinal, where QOL was measured 3 times for participants (pre, post, 3-month delayed post) and educators (before and 6 and 12 months after training). Participants' and educators' QOL was measured in C...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined whether college students who have academic majors that are incongruent with their career aims experience diminished career development. Because the value placed on self-expression differs across cultures, we tested hypotheses in both the United States (N = 301) and South Korea (N = 200). Similar proportions of American (2...
Article
Full-text available
The experience of work as meaningful, evoking a positive sense of purpose, is consistently associated with beneficial work-related and general well-being outcomes. This chapter briefly overviews the sources, mechanisms, and correlates of meaningful work before summarizing three theoretical frameworks that may help explain the experience of meaningf...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescent bullying is a common problem in schools across America. The consequences of bullying are significant, and can include severe psychological trauma and suicide. A better understanding of the mechanisms that link bullying and suicidal ideation is needed in order to develop effective prevention and intervention initiatives. Meaning in life i...
Article
Full-text available
The central aim of the present study was to assess the predictive value of affective disposition and meaningful work on employee engagement. Specifically, it was proposed that meaningful work moderates the relationship between affective disposition and engagement. Questionnaires were completed by 252 white-collar employees, working in a variety of...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological theories prioritize developing enduring sources of meaning in life. As such, unstable meaning should be detrimental to well-being. Two daily experience sampling studies were conducted to test this hypothesis. Across the studies, people with greater instability of daily meaning reported lower daily levels of meaning in life, and lower...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the interaction of the Thanksgiving holiday with gratitude in relation to well-being using a three-week long, daily diary design with a sample of 172 undergraduate students. Multilevel modeling revealed that without controlling for gratitude, people reported higher levels of positive affect on Thanksgiving holiday than during ot...
Article
Full-text available
A pilot study is presented using a photographic method for participants to explore where meaning in their lives comes from. Eighty-six university students were instructed to take 9-12 photographs of "things that make your life feel meaningful." One week later, participants returned, viewed, and described their photographs. Significant within-person...
Article
Full-text available
The annals of global exploration are peppered withamusing stories about seafaring captains who wereconvinced they had discovered some new world, ora new route to a well-known world. A flotilla of shipswould drop anchor and the explorer would row ashoreand declare to the perplexed local inhabitants that theyhad been discovered. As in the case of Chri...
Article
Full-text available
Several research projects have endeavored to articulate parsimonious and comprehensive accounts of wellbeing. A set of core concepts is seen to be emerging, including the psychological wellbeing module of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative's international research on poverty. One of the core components of wellbeing according to thi...
Article
Full-text available
Although the role of existential attitudes in adolescent health-related behavior has received increased attention recently, historically it has been underinvestigated in the field. The present study focuses on existential attitudes related to meaning in life and hopelessness. Relations of presence of meaning, search for meaning, and hopelessness wi...
Article
Full-text available
Research on work as a calling is limited by measurement concerns. In response, the authors introduce the multidimensional Calling and Vocation Questionnaire (CVQ) and the Brief Calling scale (BCS), instruments assessing presence of, and search for, a calling. Study 1 describes CVQ development using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA)...
Article
Full-text available
Many people desire work that is meaningful. However, research in this area has attracted diverse ideas about meaningful work (MW), accompanied by an equally disparate collection of ways of assessing MW. To further advance study in this area, the authors propose a multidimensional model of work as a subjectively meaningful experience consisting of e...
Article
In career counseling, social justice is typically integrated by helping oppressed groups navigate their way around obstacles of injustice while also working to dislodge the oppressive conditions from society. The authors affirm both of these courses of action while also advocating a third strategy: inviting clients to serve as agents of change by i...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how adolescents achieve meaning in life has important implications for their psychological development. A social cognitive model of meaning development was tested by assessing psychological (self-efficacy, self-regulation and social comparison) and parental (parental responsiveness, demandingness, and social support) variables in a sa...
Article
In this chapter, it is argued that meaning in life is an important variable for human well-being. Literature supporting this contention is reviewed, and complexities regarding defining meaning in life are discussed. Definitions of meaning have focused on several components, two of which appear central and unique to meaning in life, suggesting a con...
Article
Developing a sense of purpose is both salient and desirable for adolescents, and purpose in people's lives and careers is associated with both general and work-related well-being. However, little is known about whether purpose can be encouraged through school-based interventions. This article reports the results of a quasi-experimental pilot study...
Article
Full-text available
Results from two studies revealed that the relation between meaning in life and life satisfaction was moderated by the extent to which the rater was searching for meaning in his or her life. In Studies la and 1b, the presence of meaning was more strongly related to life satisfaction for those who were actively searching for meaning in life than for...
Article
Full-text available
Meaning in life, spirituality, and religiousness have been empirically linked in previous research. This study aimed to advance knowledge of the interrelations among these variables by examining their heritable and non-heritable sources of influence, as well as the genetic and environmental contributions to their inter-relations. A sample of 343 mi...
Article
The current study tested the hypothesis that experiencing a calling to a particular career would relate positively to work-related outcomes, and that these relations would be mediated by career commitment. Using a sample of 370 employees representing diverse occupations at a Western research university, results supported these hypotheses as calling...
Article
This chapter discusses the challenges faced by the field of positive psychology as it approaches its second decade of existence. Among these is the lack of clarity on which research topics constitute "positive psychology"; the one-sided focus on desirablesounding constructs and topics, with new, exotic terms like self-compassion or state cheerfulne...
Book
Positive psychology exploded into public consciousness ten years ago and has continued to capture attention around the world ever since. The movement promised to study positive human nature, using only the most rigorous scientific tools and theories. How well has this promise been fulfilled? This book evaluates the first decade of this fledgling fi...
Article
Posttraumatic life change was investigated in a sample of nonrecent sexual assault survivors. An average of 16 years postassault, most survivors identified positive changes that had resulted from the assault, particularly in the domains of self (e.g., increased assertiveness), spirituality (e.g., spiritual well-being), and empathy (e.g., concern fo...
Article
Previous research has linked meaning in life and religiosity, usually relying on simplistic unidimensional models. The present study revisited these relations, viewing both religiosity and meaning as multidimensional constructs. Dimensions of religiosity (Inclusion of Transcendence and Symbolic Interpretation) were assessed in two adult Hungarian s...
Article
Full-text available
Religious traditions are considered to provide their members with a way to integrate their experiences into a coherent, comprehensible whole; functioning as a meaning system. Given that religious traditions vary in certain ways, the meaning systems they provide to their members might also differ from one another. The present study was concerned wit...
Article
Full-text available
The endorsement and deployment of character strengths in occupational contexts are two promising components for understanding how people create well-being. In this study, a model integrating character strengths, satisfaction with occupational activities, and meaning and well-being was proposed and tested in two samples of volunteers and a sample of...