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What is it we are longing for? Psychological and demographic factors influencing the contents of Sehnsucht (life longings)

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Abstract

Life longings (Sehnsucht) – defined as intense desires for ideal states of life that are remote or unattainable – reflect individuals’ search for happiness and meaning and their struggle to cope with losses and unrealizable wishes. What do people think will make them feel happy? Do the sources of happiness and meaning change across adulthood, or differ by gender and education? In six studies, 1316 participants aged 18–81 years listed their most important life longings. Raters coded these into one of 12 life domains. Most life longings evolved around family, partnership, and personal characteristics. Strong desire for change increased the likelihood of mentioning life longings in some domains. Theory-consistent differences emerged between age groups, men and women, and less and more educated persons.

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... From this perspective, the greatest challenges we face in life are not those which cause the most stress or difficulty, but rather those which play the largest role in informing our beliefs, characteristic adaptations, and narrative identities. Indeed, research on Sehnsucht, or ''life longings", finds that many people are motivated by a feeling that life is missing something which could make it perfect (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009;Scheibe, Freund, & Baltes, 2007). Significant life challenges may be as much about striving toward valued personal goals as about coping with stress. ...
... The topics did not predominantly reflect stress, difficulty, and trauma. Rather, the distribution of life challenge topics was similar to the distribution of topics in sehsnuchts, or life longings, reported by Kotter-Grühn et al. (2009) in an inductive coding study of 1316 participants. Most narratives also included content from multiple domains. ...
... Most narratives also included content from multiple domains. Family was the most common, and the modal challenge would be one which combined Family with one -Grühn et al., 2009), both of which would fit within the current study's Family domain. There seems to be individual variation in which kinds of experience are most salient, and this variation is apparent when participants are reflecting on past challenges or longing for future completeness. ...
Article
This study introduces the concept of the single greatest life challenge—the most subjectively-significant challenge a person has ever faced—and explores its implications for narrative identity. Through content coding of 157 late-midlife community adults’ life challenge narratives, we catalogued the distribution of 18 life challenge topics. Through exploratory factor analysis of narrative features, we found a four-factor structure (identity processing, agency/emotion, verbosity/specificity, and scope) largely consistent with the “big three” narrative identity metastructure. The agency/emotion factor was most closely tied to traits and functioning: it correlated negatively with neuroticism and depression, correlated positively with psychological well-being and life satisfaction, and provided incremental validity in predicting depression. The stories adults tell of their greatest challenges are informative about personality and psychological functioning.
... This is preceded by a warm-up task, in which they are asked to reflect on different life phases (childhood, youth, adulthood, old age) or life domains (relationships with other persons, health and personal situation, self-view). Content-coding of life longings reported by more than 1,300 adults aged 18-81 years showed that reported life longings deal primarily with social relationships, such as a fulfilling partnership, true friendship, or the lasting wellbeing of family members (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, et al., 2009). Other frequently mentioned topics concern the self-image or state of mind (e.g., inner peace), health (e.g., recovering from serious illness; being active until old age), leisure (e.g., traveling the world), and work-related issues (e.g., becoming head of a company). ...
... In the foreground are the age-related themes and tasks that are relevant as individuals review, manage, and plan their lives at a given age, and as they wrestle with incompleteness and imperfection in achieving their developmental goals (Baltes, 2008). For instance, content-coding of life longings reported by more than 1,300 adults aged 18-81 years showed that life longings related to work/education were more often named by young and middle-aged adults and less often by older adults (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, et al., 2009). Work-related life longings fit with developmental tasks of establishing a career in young adulthood ("I long to be a famous actress") and career advancement in middle adulthood ("I want to move through the ranks for higher responsibility"). ...
... Sehnsucht may also frequently address past, perhaps unresolved developmental tasks. For example, partnership-related life longings were named by middle-aged adults as frequently as by younger adults (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, et al., 2009). Establishing a partnership is considered a primary task of young adulthood, so it is not surprising that partnership is a frequent theme of Sehnsucht in this phase of adulthood. ...
Chapter
Life regret and Sehnsucht (life longing) represent cognitions and emotions that occur when people reflect on themselves and their life development. Life regret relates to the insight that an actual developmental state is different from an aspired one, due to one's own actions or inactions in the past. Life longing refers to an idealized expression of life that contrasts with current life realities. Both are accompanied by negative emotions and were found to negatively relate to individuals' concurrent well-being, especially when uncontrollable. At the same time, they are assumed to serve important self-regulatory functions: a goal- and behavior-corrective function in the case of life regret, and a directive and compensatory function in the case of Sehnsucht. The expression and adaptiveness of these self-regulatory functions differ across adulthood.
... Regarding demographics, education was found to have a more positive effect on part-time than on full-time entrepreneurship (Folta et al., 2010). The strong association of education with part-time entrepreneurship can be attributed to the desire to utilize skills which are not needed in the main occupation, and to satisfy the desire for variety and autonomy which is associated with high levels of education (Cooper and Artz, 1995;Croson and Minniti, 2012;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009;Renna, 2006; compare also chapter 5.2.1). Furthermore, part-time entrepreneurship was found to be significantly less associated with age than full-time entrepreneurship which is characterized by a pronounced inverse U-shaped age distribution (Raffiee and Feng, 2014; see also chapter 4.4.3). ...
... Education is thought to predict fulltime entrepreneurship because it is positively associated with ambition, entrepreneurial selfefficacy and a desire for autonomy and innovation (Dimov, 2010;Goll and Rasheed, 2005;Kim et al., 2006;Zhao and Seibert, 2006). In contrast, the theoretical underpinning for the positive association between education and part-time entrepreneurial activity is grounded on the fact that education is associated with nonmonetary life-longings and a desire for task 5. Collectivistic culture and the relationship between education and part-time vs. full-time entrepreneurship 61 variety and skill utilization (Kimmel and Smith Conway, 2001;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009;Renna, 2006;van Boven and Gilovich, 2003) which can be satisfied more easily and with lower associated risk through part-time than through full-time entrepreneurship. Based on these differences in why education is expected to facilitate individuals'inclinationtoengage in full-time and part-time entrepreneurship, this chapter suggests that the link between education and full-time entrepreneurial activity on the one hand, and the link between education and part-time entrepreneurial activity on the other will vary considerably and differently across countries. ...
... Second, higher levels of education are associated with a longing for autonomy (Baumol, 2002;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009;Marvel and Lumpkin, 2007;van Boven and Gilovich, 2003). Third, high levels of education are associated with a desire to find novel and superior solutions. ...
Thesis
Part-time entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular and is a rather new field of research. Two important research topics are addressed in this dissertation: (a) the impact of culture on part-time and full-time entrepreneurship and (b) the motivational aspects of the transition from part-time to full-time entrepreneurship. Specifically, this dissertation advances prior research by highlighting the direct and indirect differential impact of macro-level societal culture on part-time and full-time entrepreneurship. Gender egalitarianism, uncertainty avoidance and future orientation have a significantly stronger impact on full-time than on part-time entrepreneurship. Furthermore the moderating impact of societal culture on micro-level relationships for both forms of entrepreneurship is explored. The age-old and well-established relationship between education and entrepreneurial activity is moderated by different forms of collectivism for part-time and full-time entrepreneurship. Regarding the motivation of part-time entrepreneurs to transition to full-time entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial motives of self-realization and independence are significantly positively associated with the transition, whereas the entrepreneurial motives of income supplementation and recognition are significantly negatively associated with the transition. This dissertation advances academic research by indicating conceptual differences between part-time and full-time entrepreneurship in a multi country setting and by showing that both forms of entrepreneurship are impacted through different cultural mechanisms. Based on the findings, policy makers can identify the direct and indirect impact of societal culture on part-time and full-time entrepreneurship. As a result, policy makers can better target support and transition programs to foster entrepreneurial activity.
... Baumeister (1991) identified four main needs for meaning: purpose (including goals and fulfillments), values, efficacy and self-worth. Meaning is also inherent in constructs related to personal strivings (Emmons, 1991), current concerns (Klinger,1998), personal projects (Little, 1983), life longings (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009), self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2000) and conceptions of the 'good life' (King & Napa, 1998). Several researchers have developed multidimensional models of meaning (Ebersole, 1998;Emmons, 1999;Ryff & Keyes, 1995;Wong, 1998). ...
... Why might meaningful work characteristics be important for employees and employers? First, dimensions of meaning correspond to what individuals say they most desire from life (King & Napa, 1998;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009) and what has made them happiest in the past (Sheldon, Elliot, Kim, & Kasser, 2001). Second, perceived meaningfulness is associated with higher levels of well-being (Keyes, 2007;McKnight & Kashdan, 2009;Ryan & Deci, 2000;Ryff & Keyes, 1995). ...
... Finally, organizations could promote meaningfulness in employees' non-work lives. Studies show that less than 8% of individuals' life longings are work-related (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009). Surveys, focus groups, and interviews could be used to identify the nature of these other longings, and inform ways to support them. ...
... By contrast, goals and motives -the proximal targets that guide behavior and emotional respondingare highly infl uenced by learning. While we know little about adult lifespan variation in dominant motivations (Eccles & Wigfi eld, 2002 ), it seems self-evident that persons at diff erent stages of life are motivated by diff erent considerations (Ebner, Freund, & Baltes, 2006 ;Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Fleeson, 2001 ;Kotter-Gruhn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009 ;Nurmi, 1992 ). Core motivations may share aspects of competence, autonomy, and (Deci & Ryan, 2000 ) or purpose-seeking, growth, positive relations, autonomy, mastery, and self-acceptance characteristics (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ;Ryff , 1989 ), but are diff erentially important and expressed in diff erent domains of functioning (Heckhausen et al., 2001 ) across the lifespan. One study of 1,316 participants aged 18-81 years found that life longings in work/education, partnership, and personal characteristics were less likely with age, while family-related longings increased (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ). ...
... By contrast, goals and motives -the proximal targets that guide behavior and emotional respondingare highly infl uenced by learning. While we know little about adult lifespan variation in dominant motivations (Eccles & Wigfi eld, 2002 ), it seems self-evident that persons at diff erent stages of life are motivated by diff erent considerations (Ebner, Freund, & Baltes, 2006 ;Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Fleeson, 2001 ;Kotter-Gruhn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009 ;Nurmi, 1992 ). Core motivations may share aspects of competence, autonomy, and (Deci & Ryan, 2000 ) or purpose-seeking, growth, positive relations, autonomy, mastery, and self-acceptance characteristics (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ;Ryff , 1989 ), but are diff erentially important and expressed in diff erent domains of functioning (Heckhausen et al., 2001 ) across the lifespan. One study of 1,316 participants aged 18-81 years found that life longings in work/education, partnership, and personal characteristics were less likely with age, while family-related longings increased (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ). ...
... While we know little about adult lifespan variation in dominant motivations (Eccles & Wigfi eld, 2002 ), it seems self-evident that persons at diff erent stages of life are motivated by diff erent considerations (Ebner, Freund, & Baltes, 2006 ;Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Fleeson, 2001 ;Kotter-Gruhn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009 ;Nurmi, 1992 ). Core motivations may share aspects of competence, autonomy, and (Deci & Ryan, 2000 ) or purpose-seeking, growth, positive relations, autonomy, mastery, and self-acceptance characteristics (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ;Ryff , 1989 ), but are diff erentially important and expressed in diff erent domains of functioning (Heckhausen et al., 2001 ) across the lifespan. One study of 1,316 participants aged 18-81 years found that life longings in work/education, partnership, and personal characteristics were less likely with age, while family-related longings increased (Kotter-Gruhn et al., 2009 ). In emotions theory, almost all emotions arise because of perceived changes in the status of goals (Frijda, 1986 ;Lazarus, 1991 ;Oatley, 1992 ), with the emergence of a particular emotion "driven" by a highly automatized process in which the meaning and implications of events for a person's goals are evaluated (Lazarus, 1991 ;C. A. Smith & Lazarus, 1993 ); each emotion corresponds to a particular pattern of evaluations or appraisals (Frijda, Kuipers, & ter Schure, 1989 ;Scherer, 1997 ). ...
Chapter
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Changes in emotion and emotion regulatory functioning are intimately linked with learning across the adult lifespan. Not only do emotions facilitate learning but persons also learn about their emotions; themselves; their priorities, capacities, and values; the actions of other people; social rules; and the interactions between these phenomena. Following a brief overview of current knowledge regarding age variation in emotion experience, signaling, and physiology, the chapter outlines a view of emotional development and learning based in developmental functionalism. This view suggests that changes in emotion and emotion regulatory development across the adult lifespan are most usefully viewed as reflecting the interactive influences of three age-linked phenomena-changes in normative tasks/goals, changes in relevant capacities, and changes in the tactics used to achieve desired ends. Specific sections are devoted to describing how aging and learning impact (a) tasks, goals, and motivations; (b) organismic physical, recognition, cognitive, self-knowledge, goal management, and regulatory resources; and (c) the tactics different persons use. Overall, it is suggested that a lifespan's learning regarding one's resources, capacities, and tactics enables older adults to offset losses in some resource domains with gains in others, a pattern reflected in distinct patterns of emotional and regulatory tactics.
... weitem nicht alle ihren Traumjob finden, belegen regelmäßig auch Marktforschungsstudien zum Engagement von Arbeitnehmern mit teils ernüchternden Befunden (Gallup GmbH, 2016). Fragt man Menschen nach ihren wichtigsten Sehnsüchten, rangiert das Thema Arbeit und Ausbildung zwar hinter den Sehnsuchtsbereichen Partnerschaft, Familie und Persönlichkeit − aber noch vor Themen wie Freundschaft, Gesundheit oder Finanzen (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009b). ...
... Dabei wird die Untersuchung von der bestehenden Konzeptualisierung zu Sehnsucht geleitet (Baltes, 2008;Scheibe, 2005;Scheibe et al., 2007). Den quantitativ ausgerichteten Studien dieses Forschungszweigs (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009a;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009b;Mayser et al., 2008;Scheibe, 2005;Scheibe et al., 2011;Scheibe et al., 2007) wird somit eine qualitative Studie hinzugefügt, die konkrete Fälle von beruflichen Sehnsüchten vorstellt. Dadurch können auch erstmals empirische Einblicke in bislang nur theoretisch angestellte Überlegungen wie beispielsweise die Entstehung von Sehnsüchten aus vormals blockierten Zielen (Baltes, 2008;Brandtstädter, 2015) gewonnen werden. ...
Article
Sehnsüchte werden in der Psychologie als wiederkehrende mentale Repräsentationen von erwünschten, alternativen Lebensentwürfen verstanden, die letztlich unerreichbar sind. Anhand von sechs Tiefeninterviews mit Berufstätigen nimmt die vorliegende Studie erstmals eine themenspezifische Exploration beruflicher Sehnsüchte vor. Eine thematische Analyse ergab drei übergeordnete Themen, die als Quellen, individuelle Inhalte und Konsequenzen von beruflichen Sehnsüchten bezeichnet werden konnten. Quellen von Sehnsucht waren vor allem unerfüllte berufliche Bedürfnisse und blockierte Ziele. Inhaltlich wiesen die Sehnsüchte neben dem Bezug zu einer spezifischen Berufstätigkeit einen hohen Symbolgehalt auf und gingen mit Lifestyle-Phantasien einher. Im Hinblick auf die Konsequenzen zeigte sich, dass berufliche Sehnsüchte einerseits positiv (im Sinne einer Ressource) und andererseits negativ (im Sinne eines Risikos) wirken können. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Ambivalenz werden erste Impulse für Coaching und Personalentwicklung abgeleitet.
... While there are individual differences in what people find meaningful, researchers have identified several common dimensions, including having purpose, values, and goals, spirituality, relationships, service, autonomy, commitment, challenge, achievement, competence, and self-realization (Antonovsky, 1990;Baumeister, 1991;Ebersole, 1998;Emmons, 1999;Frankl, 1992;Kobasa, 1979;Maslow, 1970;Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003;Ryan & Deci, 2000;Ryff & Keyes, 1995;Wong, 1998). Many of these themes are inherent in personal strivings (Emmons, 1991), current concerns (Klinger, 1998), personal projects (Little, 1983), life longings (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009), self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2000), and conceptions of the 'good life' (King & Napa, 1998). ...
... Meaningful work should also be important for organizations. Dimensions of meaning are closely-tied to what people most desire in life (King & Napa, 1998;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009) and what makes them happiest (Sheldon et al., 2001). Perceived meaning is also linked to higher well-being (Keyes, 2007;McKnight & Kashdan, 2009;Ryan & Deci, 2000;Ryff & Keyes, 1995). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Currently, over 40 million people in the United States are 65 years of age or older. This number is expected to more than double by 2050 (Jacobsen et al., 2011). Similar trends are expected in many European countries (Lanzieri, 2011). In the following decade, the proportion of adults between 65 and 74 years of age will grow significantly (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). The labour force will continue to age as a result (Toossi, 2009). Paradoxically, the growing prevalence of older workers also spells massive workforce reductions in the future as a function of retirement, decreasing birth rates, and lower generational replace-ment. By the end of 2013, the proportion of the US population over age 65 will surpass the proportion under 15 years of age (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). In Europe, the population under 15 years of age is projected to decline gradually from 2020 onwards (Carone & Eckefeldt, 2010). The demographic trends, above, suggest that employers need to understand older workers in order to best leverage the largest proportions of their workforces. However, they also need to understand younger workers in order to prepare and support them for the workplaces that they stand to inherit in much smaller numbers. Two areas of understanding will be essential: 1) what younger and older workers want (motives, needs, values), and 2) what they have, in terms of perceived work characteristics that may satisfy their motives, needs, and values. A third area of understand-ing relates to knowing their differences in reported levels of critical employee outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction, organizational commit-ment, work engagement). Older workers are important to understand not only because of their increasing proportions in the workforce, but also for the unique benefits that they confer to employers. Older 11
... While there are individual differences in what people find meaningful, researchers have identified several common dimensions, including having purpose, values, and goals, spirituality, relationships, service, autonomy, commitment, challenge, achievement, competence, and self-realization (Antonovsky, 1990;Baumeister, 1991;Ebersole, 1998;Emmons, 1999;Frankl, 1992;Kobasa, 1979;Maslow, 1970;Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003;Ryan & Deci, 2000;Ryff & Keyes, 1995;Wong, 1998). Many of these themes are inherent in personal strivings (Emmons, 1991), current concerns (Klinger, 1998), personal projects (Little, 1983), life longings (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009), self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2000), and conceptions of the 'good life' (King & Napa, 1998). ...
... Meaningful work should also be important for organizations. Dimensions of meaning are closely-tied to what people most desire in life (King & Napa, 1998;Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009) and what makes them happiest (Sheldon et al., 2001). Perceived meaning is also linked to higher well-being (Keyes, 2007;McKnight & Kashdan, 2009;Ryan & Deci, 2000;Ryff & Keyes, 1995). ...
... The presence of meaningful work characteristics should also be more important than the presence of other work characteristics as factors in employee outcomes, given that dimensions of meaning are closely tied to the self or identity (Debats et al., 1995). In addition, dimensions of meaning are linked to individuals' most satisfying life events (Sheldon et al., 2001), conceptions of the good life (King & Napa, 1998), and greatest life longings (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2009). The self-relevance and exceptional desirability of meaning suggests exceptional, relative importance for meaningful work characteristics. ...
... Finally, HRD professionals could promote meaningfulness in employees' nonwork lives. Studies show that less than 8% of individuals' life longings are work-related (Grühn et al., 2009). Surveys, focus groups, and interviews could be used to identify the nature of these other longings and inform ways to support them. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Problem. Meaningful work is underrepresented in current models and measures of work characteristics. Ironically, past research suggests that meaningful work may have substantive impacts on employee outcomes. The current study addresses this problem by demonstrating the value of meaningful work in human resource development (HRD) practices involving employee engagement. The Solution. A web-based survey of employed North Americans (n = 574) was conducted. Meaningful work characteristics were compared to other work characteristics as correlates and predictors of employee engagement, burnout, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover cognitions. Meaningful work characteristics had the strongest relative correlations with multiple employee outcomes. They also predicted substantive variance in employee engagement while controlling for other work characteristics in regression analyses. The Stakeholders. Since meaningful work contains themes of human development (e.g., self-actualization, social impact), this variable represents an opportunity for human resource development (HRD) practitioners to increase levels of employee engagement as a strategic leverage point within organizations.
... Life longings are assumed to emerge under conditions of incompleteness , nonrealizability, and loss (Baltes, 2008; 4 We replicated our results concerning moderator effects for negative affect (positive and negative trait affectivity were assessed with 10 items each from an adjective list by Kunzmann, Stange, and Jordan, 2005). The relationship between negative affect and life longing was moderated by goal adjustment. ...
... Note that the reported moderating effects of goal adjustment and control over life longing experience remain significant after controlling for demographic variables (age, years of education), health, and child-wish-related variables (intensity, duration, objective attainability , and subjective attainability). p .10. Grühn et al., 2009; Scheibe, 2005). The confrontation of childless women with the unattainability of their goal to have children represents such an experience of nonrealizability. ...
Article
Full-text available
Sehnsucht (life longings), the intense desire for optimal (utopian) states of life that are remote or unattainable, was recently introduced into life-span psychology as a concept of self-regulation (P. B. Baltes, 2008; S. Scheibe, A. M. Freund, & P. B. Baltes, 2007). The authors propose that as a compensatory strategy to deal with nonrealizability and loss, life longings may develop out of blocked goals. Individuals would cease to invest behavioral effort into its attainment and instead maintain the goal target in imagination. In a sample of 168 middle-aged childless women, the present study investigated the circumstances under which the wish for children emerges as a goal or life longing and whether the representation of the wish for children as a life longing is beneficial for well-being. The wish for children was expressed as a goal when participants rated this wish as currently intense and attainable. In contrast, it was expressed as a life longing when participants rated it as highly intense and long-standing. The pursuit of the wish for children as a life longing was positively related to well-being only when participants had high control over the experience of this life longing and when other self-regulation strategies (goal adjustment) failed.
... At all ages, individuals hold ideals that reflect a contrast to their perceived or anticipated state (Cantor, Norem, Niedenthal, Langston, & Brower, 1987;Ryff, 1991;Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009). Such wishful thinking-whether it is reasonable, improbable, or utopian-shapes the lives of individuals and is closely tied to aspects of the self and well-being (Higgins, 1987). ...
Thesis
The rapid increase in human life expectancy during the last decades sees many individuals confronted with the prospect of living a very long life. Whereas advances in life expectancy are often being celebrated in scientific communities, it is still largely unclear to what extent individuals embrace the prospect of a long life and wish to reach a very old age. To address this issue, the present dissertation focuses on the construct of ideal life expectancy, which can be defined as a personal desire regarding the length of one’s life. Understanding personal ideal life expectancies, and the antecedents, processes, and consequences surrounding them, is particularly important when assuming that individuals’ beliefs, choices, and behavior can affect their aging process and actual length of life. Within the general introduction of this dissertation (see Chapter 1), the construct of ideal life expectancy is embedded in the theoretical frameworks of self-discrepancy theory and the psychology of life-longings. With this, it is highlighted that individual ideal life expectancies constitute self-related ideals, which can and often do diverge from perceptions of reality (i.e., perceived life expectancies). Indeed, many individuals seem to wish for a life longer than the one they anticipate, express a certain dissatisfaction with the length of their life, and experience a phenomenon we have labeled as subjective life expectancy discordance (i.e., the discordance between ideal and perceived life expect-ancy). In all this, ideal life expectancy is however a construct with considerable interindividual differences and it is scarcely understood why some individuals consider their perceived life expectancy ideal, whereas others would opt for rather short or unrealistically long lives. The central research questions of this dissertation focus on the contexts and experiences (i.e., culture, age, health, and the coronavirus pandemic) as well as personal belief systems and mindsets regarding living, aging, and death that can determine individual ideal life expectancies. Furthermore, it is addressed how processes of anticipation, evaluation, and contrasting likely surround the immediate formation of ideal life expectancies. When forming their ideal life expectancy, individuals need to rely on more general anticipations of their personal life in old age as well as the specific anticipation of perceived life expectancy. Individuals can then evaluate those anticipations as (un-)desirable, (un-)acceptable, or even threatening (cf. aging-related fears) and can be encouraged or discouraged to wish for a certain life expectancy. Consequently, individuals are free to actively decide on an ideal life expectancy that is in concordance and acceptance of their anticipations, or in discordance and in contrast to their anticipations. Here, it is studied how certain aging-related fears as well as general anticipations of the future relate to ideal life expectancies. Lastly, affective and behavioral consequences of individual ideal life expectancies are investigated. Particularly, it is assumed that (strong) discordances between perceived and ideal life expectancies can stimulate health behavior change, but also negatively affect psychological well-being and foster experiences of dissatisfaction and despair. The specific research questions have resulted in four empirical research papers gathered in this cumulative dissertation. Paper #1 (see Chapter 2) summarizes prior research on longevity motivation and identifies three common belief systems and mindsets: The essentialist mindset idealizes an infinite life and aims at conquering or halting a biologically determined aging process. The medicalist mindset evaluates aging based on health and sees longevity as burdened only when pathology occurs. The stoicist mindset is a mindset of acceptance, which tolerates the challenges and vulnerabilities of the aging process as long as dignity and meaning can be preserved. The mindsets are then empirically explored in regard to the construct of ideal life expectancy. Results indicate that culture, self-rated health, and death acceptance act as potential determinants of ideal life expectancy. Additionally, the interplay of perceived and ideal life expectancy is able to predict health behavior change. Lastly, ideal life expectancy and its discordance to perceived life expectancy are established as stable and reliable constructs. Paper #2 (see Chapter 3) targets the relationship between ideal and perceived life expectancy more explicitly. Results indicate that average ideal life expectancies lie cleary above average perceived life expectancies and that most individuals would strive for a longer life than they anticipate. This experience of subjective life expectancy discordance seems to ease in old age, when ideal and perceived life expectancies become more concordant. In line with predictions of self-discrepancy theory, a stronger subjective life expectancy discordance was negatively related to different aspects of psychological well-being. Over the time span of two years, subjective life expectancy discordance predicted increases in negative affect. Additionally, subjective life expectancy discordance contributed to another form of subjective aging discordance: Individuals wishing to live longer than they anticipated to, also wished to be younger again than they perceived themselves to be. Thus, a discordance and dissatisfaction regarding the future aging process and length of life seemed to predict a discordance and dissatisfaction regarding the current aging process. Paper #3 (see Chapter 4) investigates a number of psychological constructs targeting the finitude of life (i.e., future time perspective with its three subcomponents future time opportunity, extension, and constraint, fear of death, and ideal life expectancy) in times of the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas the research indicates that future time perspectives decreased over the course of the pandemic and that fear of death peaked at its beginning, ideal life expectancies remained surprisingly stable throughout the pandemic. Ideal life expectancies thus seem to be shaped by more enduring contexts and experiences (e.g., health state and socioeconomic status) rather than momentary and transitory ones. Furthermore, it is explored how ideal life expectancy relates to the other psychological constructs of finitude: Next to the respective cross-sectional relations, higher ideal life expectancy seemed predictive of increases in future time opportunity, future time extension, and fear of death, leading up to the topic of the fourth publication. Paper #4 (see Chapter 5) focuses on the role of aging-related fears for individual ideal life expectancies. Following predictions of terror management theory, it is assumed that a strong fear of death is related to pushing death into the more distant future and wishing for a longer life. In contrast, fears regarding the aging process, such as the fear of loneliness in old age and the fear of aging-related diseases could color anticipations of aging in such negative and threatening ways that individuals may prefer to avoid those by wishing for a shorter life. Results indicate that differentiations mainly occur in regard to whether individuals would like to reach a very old age. Indeed, a stronger fear of death was related to higher ideal life expectancies and the wish to reach a very old age across two studies. Additionally, individuals fearing loneliness in old age or aging-related diseases while being unafraid of death, wished for particularly short lives. Explicitly negative anticipations of the aging process such as aging-related fears can thus partly explain why individuals wish for longer or shorter lives. In the general discussion (see Chapter 6), the findings of the four research papers are summarized and synthesized. In regard to contexts and experiences, aspects of an individual’s biography such as culture, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and health state seemed decisive for individual ideal life expectancies. In contrast, ideal life expectancies seem rather unaffected by temporary contexts such as the coronavirus pandemic. Three overarching belief systems and mindsets for longevity motivation were identified. Additionally, individuals’ views on death (i.e., fear of death and death acceptance) were associated with ideal life expectancies. Regarding the more immediate formation of ideal life expectancies, reciprocal processes between anticipations of the own aging process and future (e.g., future time perspective) and personal ideal life expectancies can be assumed. Research furthermore supports the assumption that individuals actively differentiate between the more rational anticipation that is perceived life expectancy and the personal desire that is ideal life expectancy. Whereas most individuals wish to live longer than they anticipate, particularly older adults also experience concordance between their ideal and perceived life expectancy. The general discussion also highlights and discusses the finding that a subgroup of individuals wishes to live less long than they anticipate to. Lastly, next to ideal life expectancy’s impact on health behaviors and psychological well-being, there seem to be cognitive consequences in regard to states of acceptance, the envisioning of the future, and potentially, active goal-setting and intention-building. The discussion concludes in an expanded research model and highlights social contexts and relationships, aspects of subjective aging, and the end of life as potential areas for future research surrounding ideal life expectancy. The main implications of this dissertation refer to the reliability and stability of the construct of ideal life expectancy, its embeddedness in the research on self-related ideals and the research on subjective aging, and the more far-reaching content of the identified mindsets of longevity motivation. On a practical level, individual and average ideal life expectancies could affect research questions, medical treatment and decision making, as well as societal views on old and very old individuals. Due to relations to negative psychological well-being and fear of death, the constructs of ideal life expectancy and subjective life expectancy discordance may furthermore be of importance for overall psychopathology. Most importantly, however, this dissertation is able to show that many individuals indeed appreciate the prospect of a long life—a finding that could be utilized to foster a positive but realistic approach to living into very old age.
... At all ages, individuals hold ideals that reflect a contrast to their perceived or anticipated state (Cantor, Norem, Niedenthal, Langston, & Brower, 1987;Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009;Ryff, 1991). Such wishful thinking-whether it is reasonable, improbable, or utopian-shapes the lives of individuals and is closely tied to aspects of the self and well-being (Higgins, 1987). ...
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Following theoretical models on wishful thinking, we investigated (a) whether personal aging ideals are discordant from self-perceptions of aging, (b) how such aging discordances evolve across adulthood, (c) whether current aging discordances are related to anticipated future aging discordances, and (d) whether aging discordances are related to a lower psychological well-being. We captured subjective age discordance (SAD) as the discrepancy between current perceived age and ideal age, and we captured subjective life-expectancy discordance (SLED) as the discrepancy between perceived life expectancy and ideal life expectancy. For the analyses, we used cross-sectional data from 1,015 individuals (M = 40.0 years, SD = 17.9 years; 52.1% women) and 2-year longitudinal data from 258 individuals (M = 55.3 years, SD = 17.3 years; 70.5% women). Both aging discordances were clearly present across the adult life span; that is, ideal ages were lower than perceived ages, and ideal life expectancies were higher than perceived life expectancies. A stronger SLED was associated with a stronger SAD, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Both discordances were also associated with lower psychological well-being in the cross-sectional analyses. Over time, lower life satisfaction predicted increases in SAD, and SLED predicted increases in negative affect. The results indicate that SAD and SLED are both highly prevalent and potentially functional because they seem to be related to psychological well-being. The discussion focuses on SAD and SLED as constructs for future research, their antecedents, and potential consequences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Rather than focus on spurious claims that younger workers are in search of meaning at work (Salzberg, 2012) or only as individuals age, meaningful work has a greater impact on sustained motivation than extrinsic rewards (Carstensen, 1995(Carstensen, , 2006, the focus of organizational leaders can be on reinforcing the meaningfulness of work employees are engaged in at all ages and career stages. Dimensions of meaning gained through work are related to important outcomes that individuals seek over their life course (Kotter-Gruhn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009), what makes people happy (Sheldon, Elliot, Kim, & Kasser, 2001), and are linked to higher levels of well-being (Keyes, 2007;McKnight & Kashdan, 2009). ...
... A sincere longing for personal and family well-being is an innate drive of humans who retain the image of God and long for wholeness, but is often exploited by the healthcare industry or denied by oppressive social, governmental, or religious systems. 11,12 Caution must be given not to allow the idolatry of physical health and safety (the diseases we fear) or the idolatry of trusting in technological healthcare systems or governments or organizations (the things we trust) to replace abiding trust in the living "God who heals." (Ex 15:26) 5 Healthcare contextualized to the culture is of supreme importance, such as affirming African traditions of a dying process surrounded by family at home instead of a hospital. 13 The care rendered by Jesus was exceptionally compassionate, personalized, indiscriminate, holistic, contextual, and self-sacrificial. ...
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Given the global disease burden and resource disparity that exists in the world and the globalization of Christianity, Christians are in a critical position to effect radical change in individuals, communities and systems for human flourishing. This paper describes the theological basis of seven key elements that the Church can contribute to sustainable development, global health equity, and universal access as an expanding movement: defining health, speaking truth, providing care, making peace, cooperating, setting priorities, and mobilizing resources for maximum stewardship in low resource settings.
... In der entwicklungspsychologischen Sehnsuchtsforschungw urden einige Studien durchgeführt, die versucht haben, den Inhalt vonSehnsüchten zu kategorisieren. Eine zusammenfassende Studie hierzu stammt vonK otter-Grühn et al. [5], in der die Sehnsüchtevon 1316 Probanden zusammengefasst wurden. Die wichtigsten Sehnsüchtew aren bei fast 30 %d er Probanden auf die Partnerschaft gerichtet, gefolgtv on persönlichen Merkmalen (17,7 %) und der Familie (14,4 %). ...
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Bindung gilt heute als primäres Motiv oder Bedürfnis. Dies ist vor allem durch die Befunde der Forschung zur sogenannten Bindungstheorie gut belegt. Die Verknüpfung von Bindung und Sehnsucht ist nicht ganz selbstverständlich. Ausgehend von einigen Befunden zur Psychologie der Sehnsucht wird in diesem Beitrag untersucht, wie auf der Basis der primären Motive Bindung und Exploration Bindungswünsche zur Bindungssehnsucht werden können. Des Weiteren wird die These formuliert, dass die inneren Arbeitsmodelle von Bindung u. a. die Funktion haben, Bindungssehnsucht zu organisieren, zu repräsentieren, unter Umständen aber auch abzuwehren. Basierend auf der Annahme, dass Sehnsucht immer auch Ambivalenzen birgt, wird abschließend dargelegt, dass es eine der Aufgaben von Psychotherapie sein könnte, Hilfen beim Sehnsuchts- bzw. Ambivalenzmanagement anzubieten.
... Finally, employers could promote meaningfulness in employees' non-work lives. Studies show that less than 8 percent of individuals' life longings are work-related (Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek & Scheibe, 2009). Surveys could be used to identify the rest of employees' life longings, and inform initiatives to support them. ...
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... For example, in lifespan research, researcher can be interested in age as a predictor and test interaction terms like age, age 2 and/or age 3 in their linear models, for example, to examine whether a particular measured variable depends polynomially on age (e.g. McArdle & Prescott, 1992;Kotter-Grühn, Wiest, Zurek, & Scheibe, 2009;Wrzus et al., 2011). A typical construct could be a cognitive ability that is less pronounced in young and older age, but peaks during young adulthood. ...
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The primary goal of this thesis is to present novel methodologies for the exploratory analysis of psychological data sets that support researchers in informed theory development. Psychological data analysis bears a long tradition of confirming hypotheses generated prior to data collection. However, in practical research, the following two situations are commonly observed: In the first instance, there are no initial hypotheses about the data. In that case, there is no model available and one has to resort to uninformed methods to reveal structure in the data. In the second instance, existing models that reflect prior hypotheses need to be extended and improved, thereby altering and renewing hypotheses about the data and refining descriptions of the observed phenomena. This dissertation introduces a novel method for the exploratory analysis of psychological data sets for each of the two situations. Both methods focus on time series analysis, which is particularly interesting for the analysis of psychophysiological data and longitudinal data typically collected by developmental psychologists. Nonetheless, the methods are generally applicable and useful for other fields that analyze time series data, e.g., sociology, economics, neuroscience, and genetics. The first part of the dissertation proposes a clustering method for time series. A dissimilarity measure of time series based on the permutation distribution is developed. Employing this measure in a hierarchical scheme allows for a novel clustering method for time series based on their relative complexity: Permutation Distribution Clustering (PDC). Two methods for the determination of the number of distinct clusters are discussed based on a statistical and an information-theoretic criterion. Structural Equation Models (SEMs) constitute a versatile modeling technique, which is frequently employed in psychological research. The second part of the dissertation introduces an extension of SEMs to Structural Equation Modeling Trees (SEM Trees). SEM Trees describe partitions of a covariate-space which explain differences in the model parameters. They can provide solutions in situations in which hypotheses in the form of a model exist but may potentially be refined by integrating other variables. By harnessing the full power of SEM, they represent a general data analysis technique that can be used for both time series and non-time series data. SEM Trees algorithmically refine initial models of the sample and thus support researchers in theory development. This thesis includes demonstrations of the methods on simulated as well as on real data sets, including applications of SEM Trees to longitudinal models of cognitive development and cross-sectional cognitive factor models, and applications of PDC on psychophysiological data, including electroencephalographic, electrocardiographic, and genetic data.
... In der entwicklungspsychologischen Sehnsuchtsforschungw ur- den einige Studien durchgeführt, die versucht haben, den Inhalt vonSehnsüchten zu kategorisieren. Eine zusammenfassende Stu- die hierzu stammt vonK otter-Grühn et al. [5], in der die Sehn- süchtevon 1316 Probanden zusammengefasst wurden. Die wich- tigsten Sehnsüchtew aren bei fast 30 %d er Probanden auf die Partnerschaft gerichtet, gefolgtv on persönlichen Merkmalen (17,7 %) und der Familie (14,4 %). ...
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Originalarbeit 41 " Sehnsuchtist ein hoher Grad eines heftigen und oftschmerzlichen Verlangens nach etwas, beson-ders, wenn man keine Hoffnunghat, das Verlang-te zu erlangen, oder wenn die Erlangungu nge-wiss, noche ntfernt ist" (DeutschesW örterbuch, Grimm &Grimm 1854). Psychologie der Sehnsucht ! Speziell in der deutschsprachigenK ultur ist der Sehnsuchtsbegriffh och besetzt. Literaturwissen-schaftler und Philosophen haben sich intensiv mit dem Konzept Sehnsucht befasst,d as spätes-tens seit J. W. v. GoethesG edicht " Nurw er die Sehnsucht kennt…" und der deutschen Romantik (" die blaue Blume" ,N ovalis, C. D. Friedrich etc.) eine hohe Bedeutung erlangt hat. Das " typisch Deutsche" an der Sehnsucht mag sich auch daran zeigen, dass es im anglo-amerikanischen Sprach-raum keinen wirklich äquivalenten Begriff für Sehnsucht gibt, manchmal wird das Wort lifelong-ing dafür benutztw ird, vielö fter aber der deut-sche Begriff Sehnsucht in den englischen Wort-schatz übernommen [1, 2]. Die Wechselhaftigkeit und teilweise Unspezifität des Sehnsuchtsbegriffsh at vielleicht dazu beige-tragen, dass die akademische Psychologie sich of-fensichtlichl angeZ eit mit dem Thema nicht be-schäftigth at. Einer der wichtigsten Impulsgeber füre ine psychologische Sehnsuchtsforschung ware rst kürzlich Paul Baltes[ 3], der im Rahmen seiner entwicklungspsychologischen Forschung die Bedeutung vonS ehnsucht als Konzept in der lebenslangen Entwicklung erkannt und spezifi-1 Schriftliche Fassung eines Vortrags, gehalten anlässlich
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An effective way of identifying the psychological role of an emotion is by probing its position relative to other emotions, such as in terms of appraisals, occurrence, lay conceptualization, and consequences. A set of recent studies offer such comparisons for nostalgia against a backdrop of many other emotions. These studies depict nostalgia as an approach-oriented emotion that resembles positive emotions more closely than negative ones, and place nostalgia especially close to positive social emotions. A complementary new analysis of the correlations between nostalgia and 31 other emotions furthermore locates nostalgia between experiences related to loss and love. Altogether, recent work on nostalgia among the emotions portrays it as a psychological bridge from loss toward love.
Chapter
Research on meaningful work has gained more popularity in the recent years and there is plenty of evidence on how meaning is positively related to work motivation. However, various events on the Baltic startup scene have made it possible to become an entrepreneur in a safe environment and launch a service or a product quickly and with very little investment. This has created a circle of people participating in different entrepreneurship-related events and working on startup ideas as hobby projects whilst also being employed. The aim of this paper is to discover the connection between different dimensions of meaningful work and the probability of leaving one’s work and founding a company. To examine these links, a web-based survey was conducted involving Estonians, as well as some Latvians, Lithuanians and residents of other countries (n = 198) who were connected to the Baltic startup scene. Meaningful work was measured with the help of two scales—the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale (CMWS) developed in 2012 by Lips-Wiersma and Wright as well as the shorter and more general Work as Meaning Inventory (WAMI) developed in 2012 by Steger. The study revealed that meaningful work appeared to have negative correlation to the predicted likeliness of quitting one’s job; however, relationship between meaning and attending various entrepreneurship- related events or being more likely to start a business was not identified.
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Ambivalent affective states, such as bittersweetness, nostalgia, and longing, which are felt as having both positive and negative aspects, are an important component of human experience but have received little attention. The most influential theoretical frameworks in affective neuroscience focus largely on univalenced states. As a result, it is not known whether ambivalent affect corresponds to a simultaneously positive and negative valenced state or whether it results from a rapid vacillation between positive and negative states. Here we hypothesize that ambivalent affect involves both mechanisms, that is, rapid vacillation and simultaneity of positive and negative affect, albeit at different neurobiological levels. Rapidly vacillating univalent emotions could give rise to an ambivalent feeling, a mechanism that depends on brainstem nuclei that facilitate rapid action programs of emotional behavior while inhibiting opposing behaviors. This reciprocal inhibition prevents organisms from simultaneously implementing responses to conflicting emotions but also allows for rapid switching between emotions triggered by counterfactual thinking and rapid reappraisal of situations. We propose that as these transitions occur and respective interoceptive information reaches the insular cortex, further processing of this “emotional moment” would allow separate emotional events to be experienced as one “mixed” and integrated feeling.
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Purpose In this paper, the authors propose and empirically test an integrated model which investigates the relationship between POS-E (perceived organizational support for the environment) and employee outcomes, which are employee eco-initiatives (the first category of OCBE), employee psychological capital and alienation. Meaningful work as a mediator between POS-E and employee outcomes was also investigated. Design/methodology/approach The study utilized a survey method to empirically test the hypothesized relationships on a sample of 303 respondents. For testing, Confirmatory factor analysis for the proposed and alternative models, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) based on software AMOS, version 20.0 was used. This was to ensure validity and construct distinctiveness among the variables in the study and to evaluate the fit of the hypothesized measurement model in comparison to several alternate models. To estimate the effects of meaningful work (as a mediator) on the association between POS-E and eco-initiatives, psychological capital and alienation, the authors administered Sobel test. Findings The present research augments the contemporary research on environmental sustainability and employee outcomes by further developing the emerging constructs of perceived organizational support of the environment (POS-E) and organized citizenship behavior toward the environment (OCBE), which is measured by eco-initiatives. The results imply that POS-E is positively associated with eco-initiatives and employee psychological capital and is negatively associated with alienation. The findings further suggest that meaningful work mediates the association between POS-E and all the outcome variables which are: employee-eco-initiatives, psychological capital and alienation. Research limitations/implications The findings confirm the desired direction of research and accomplished the research objective of the study. As the consequences of POS-E imply immense value for all stakeholders, decision-makers must also reflect on the means of enhancing employees' understanding. Further, it is imperative, that the organization supports their environmental goals and values, and their green engagement. Practical implications Results of the present study exhibit wide practical inferences for the managers. HR managers need to organize the passion for green behavior and work on intrinsic drivers of employee green engagement to let it sustain over a period of time. As society gradually expects increased organizational contributions towards environmental sustainability, this paper indicates that those employees who get an opportunity to act in coordination with environmental objectives will engage in eco-initiatives, exhibit higher psychological capital, and be less likely to feel alienated. The results imply that leaders should examine a diversity of probable interventions to enhance POS-E in order to gain from the initial rise in perceived meaningful work, employee eco-initiatives, increased psychological capital and reduced alienation. These interventions may lead to higher passion for sustainability and green behavior. Social implications Further, this work supports the work of Toffel and Schendler (2013), whose study states that organizations should market their environment and climate initiatives, climate activism, such that customers and suppliers appreciate their leadership, and understands what matters. This work supports the work of Turaga et al. (2010), whose study states that for pro-environment behavior, environment passion is an intrinsic behavior which is needed (see Afsar et al. , 2016). The current study enhances the need to trigger employee's sense of pro-environment passion at work place for significant results. Originality/value This is a pioneer study, in India which confirms and extends the construct of POS-E using Social Exchange theory as an underpinning theory. We found that POS-E was linked with previously untested employee consequences, like employee eco-initiatives and psychological capital and that it was negatively associated with alienation. Our study confirmed mediator variable to be meaningful work in the relationship between POS-E and psychological capital, alienation and eco-initiatives
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This article is presented as a case study illustrating the interplay between theory-testing, personality scale development, and construct validation. A new construct, hagioptasia, is proposed and scale development and initial construct validity research are described. Hagioptasia is conceptualized as a tendency to perceive certain persons and places are preternaturally “special” and as a desire to participate in that otherworldly specialness when, objectively, there is really nothing unearthly about the person or situation. Item and factor analyses support a general construct of hagioptasia with two subthemes: (1) attraction to glamourous, famous persons and a desire for similar achievement and recognition and (2) an aesthetic sense of wonder and transcendence. Items assessing these two subthemes correlated with a short measure of Enterprising and Artistic vocational interests, respectively. While the theory of hagioptasia and the validity of a hagioptasia scale received some support through associations with age, gender, educational level, and religious orientation, difficulties were noted with reverse-scored items and with assessing hagioptasia as an illusory or purely imaginary perception of specialness. Directions for future scale development and theory-testing are discussed.
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Musical taste and uses of music correlate with age, although there has been little theoretical explanation of these relationships. The present research argues that musical behavior may be explained by chronological age and variations in life goals across the lifespan, and investigated the relationship between life goals, age, musical taste, and uses of music using an exploratory mixed-methods approach. In Phase 1, thematic analysis of responses from 27 adults aged 65+ years allowed development of an improved “Uses of Music” questionnaire for use with adults of all ages. In Phase 2, 799 Australian adults aged 18–81 years completed three questionnaires, namely Uses of Music (amended), Short Test of Music Preference—Revised, and the GOALS Importance Subscale. Chronological age correlated with life goals; and chronological age, life goals, and musical taste predicted using music for each of social reasons, mood regulation, reminiscence, and activities. Future research on music should not regard age as simply a chronological variable, and instead acknowledge that it implies several life goals which themselves relate to musical taste and uses of music in different ways.
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The present study aimed to investigate the lived experience of Iranian university students about meaning in life. The search method in this study was descriptive phenomenography. 40 university students aged 18-28 were selected using volunteering sampling method. The 40 participants were assigned in 4 focused groups randomly. Each focused group consisted of 10 participants and three members of the research team. The three members facilitated the conversations, recorded the information and summarized each session. The data were analyzed using Colaizzi strategy. The process of data analyzing resulted in 117 primary codes, 8 themes, and 23 sub-themes. The 8 themes included: peace and satisfaction, progress and learning, spirituality, hope, socializing, altruism, having virtues and meaninglessness. The results showed that among the resources of meaning in life of Iranian youths in the present study, individual resources (e.g. progress and learning) were of more importance and emphasis rather than collective one (e.g. altruism).
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This article explored the experiences shared by four artists during their processes of creating an art work which represented a specific art song or Lied. During 2015, South African artists Marna de Wet, Kevin du Plessis, Jean Lampen and Eljana van der Merwe collaborated with the pianist Tinus Botha and baritone Conroy Cupido. The essence of the poetry and music of Vaughan Williams, Quilter, Schumann, Strauss and Brahms presented in this project conveyed a feeling known as Sehnsucht. The purpose of this article was to understand the experiences of these artists during their creative processes. Their processes entailed ascribing meaning and communicating their interpretation of the elements of Sehnsucht from the music and poetry to visual art. This was achieved through interpretative phenomenological analysis. The artists used various media including, charcoal on paper, oil paint on sourced objects, oil on canvas and photography to portray their interpretations. Through their artistic processes, the artists uncovered melancholy, Wanderlust, homo-eroticism, longing and the desire for love in the music and poetry. One of the artists discovered how her own concept of idealised love had evolved through her artistic process. The artists used both music and narrative content to visualise Sehnsucht; however, due to the non-referential nature of music, the artists were not always able to verbalise how the music influenced their work. The article includes images of some of the art works.
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Meaning in life is vital for human wellbeing. Research has examined important sources of meaning: however, it has not yet investigated whether certain sources of meaning might be more predictive of overall meaning and wellbeing. A community sample of 247 individuals (30 – 69 years) rated the degree of meaningfulness they experienced in certain domains and completed 11 wellbeing measures. Presence of meaning was positively predicted by family and interpersonal relations, and negatively by leisure activities; search for meaning was positively predicted by personal growth and religiosity/spirituality. Meaning from family and health aided in the process of searching for meaning leading to presence of meaning; similarly, meaning from family, interpersonal relationships, health, religiosity/spirituality and life in general buffered against impoverished wellbeing when searching for meaning. Presence and wellbeing were both higher if the domains of work, family, interpersonal relations, community/society issues, and life in general were highly endorsed. Lastly, highly endorsing a larger number of sources buffered against negative wellbeing outcomes when searching for meaning. Overall, we found that meaning from important domains such as family and interpersonal relationships, and strongly endorsing a wide variety of sources, protected against negative wellbeing outcomes when searching for meaning.
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This study examines a proposed model whereby ethical leadership positively influences the level of meaning followers experience in their work, which in turn positively impacts followers' levels of work engagement and organizational identification, as well as reduces their levels of workplace envy. We further hypothesized that cognitive reappraisal strategies for emotional regulation would moderate the ethical leadership-meaningful work relationship. The model was tested in a stratified random field sample of 440 employees and their direct supervisors in the aviation industry in Turkey. Results based on data collected at two points in time showed that ethical leadership has a significant and positive direct effect on engagement and organizational identification, as well as indirect effects on those two outcomes through meaningfulness. Finally, results show that ethical leadership has a significant negative direct effect on workplace envy. Further, results showed that cognitive reappraisal emotion regulation strategy positively moderates, i.e. strengthens, the relationship between ethical leadership and meaningful work.
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Research has identified a variety of sources for deriving meaning in one's life. The present research examined how central sources of meaning varied according to age, gender, and level of education, and, second, whether these sources predicted well-being differentially. A New Zealand community sample of 247 individuals (30 - 69 years) provided open-ended descriptions of the meaning in their lives, rated their meaning in certain domains and completed 11 well-being measures. The most frequently reported source of meaning was family, and the second was interpersonal relations. Differences were found by age, gender, and amount of education, for example, younger individuals were more likely to find personal growth meaningful, whereas older people were more likely to find standard of living and community activities meaningful.
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A psychoanalytic look at aspects of Loneliness, with an emphasis on internal factors, further to those described by Melanie Klein, is presented. In particular, importance is given to Paternal Reverie as compared with Bion's concept of Maternal Reverie. Examples from literature and the TV series The West Wing are given, along with a brief clinical example.
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Secondary analyses of Revised NEO Personality Inventory data from 26 cultures (N = 23,031) suggest that gender differences are small relative to individual variation within genders; differences are replicated across cultures for both college-age and adult samples, and differences are broadly consistent with gender stereotypes: Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas. Contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures. Contrary to predictions from the social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European and American cultures in which traditional sex roles are minimized. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are discussed, including the attribution of masculine and feminine behaviors to roles rather than traits in traditional cultures.
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Socioeconomic status (SES) is consistently associated with health outcomes, yet little is known about the psychosocial and behavioral mechanisms that might explain this association. Researchers usually control for SES rather than examine it. When it is studied, only effects of lower, poverty-level SES are generally examined. However, there is evidence of a graded association with health at all levels of SES, an observation that requires new thought about domains through which SES may exert its health effects. Variables are highlighted that show a graded relationship with both SES and health to provide examples of possible pathways between SES and health end points. Examples are also given of new analytic approaches that can better illuminate the complexities of the SES-health gradient.
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Sehnsucht (life longings) refers to thoughts and feelings about missing something in life that would make it complete or perfect. Using a life-span–theoretical approach, we posit that life longings have important developmental functions, including giving directionality for life planning and helping to cope with loss and important, yet unattainable wishes by pursuing them in one's imagination. This article presents a life-span–theoretical conceptualization of Sehnsucht recently introduced by Paul B. Baltes and colleagues (Baltes, in press; Scheibe, Freund, & Baltes, 200831. Scheibe , S. , Freund , A. M. and Baltes , P. B. 2007 . Toward a developmental psychology of Sehnsucht (life longings): The optimal (utopian) life . Developmental Psychology , 43 : 778 – 795 . [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references) and reviews first empirical research conducted in this framework. The review addresses lay conceptions of Sehnsucht and the construct's distinction from already existing, well-articulated constructs (goals, regrets, ideal self), the functions of life longings for development, and age-related differences across adulthood.
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The origins of sex differences in human behavior can lie mainly in evolved dispositions that differ by sex or mainly in the differing placement of women and men in the social structure. The present article contrasts these 2 origin theories of sex differences and illustrates the explanatory power of each to account for the overall differences between the mate selection preferences of men and women. Although this research area often has been interpreted as providing evidence for evolved dispositions, a reanalysis of D. M. Buss's (see record 1989-32627-001) study of sex differences in the attributes valued in potential mates in 37 cultures yielded cross-cultural variation that supports the social structural account of sex differences in mate preferences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Through the selection and pursuit of goals, people are assumed to actively influence their own development. More recently, the construct of life longings (Sehnsucht) has been proposed as playing an equally important role in developmental regulation. This study investigated whether both constructs can be differentiated empirically. Eighty-one participants aged 20 to 69 years reported their most important personal goals and life longings, and evaluated these with respect to their cognitive, emotional, and action-related character-istics. Results indicate that goals, in comparison to life longings, are perceived as being more closely linked to everyday actions, more strongly related to the future, and more controllable (particularly in terms of their attainability). Life longings, in contrast to goals, were evaluated as being more emotionally ambivalent, more long-term oriented, more strongly related to the past, and as involving a stronger sense of incompleteness. Differences between the two constructs further emerged in their specific contents and in their relationship with overall life satisfaction. Findings justify the distinction between both constructs. Implications for theories of self-regulation are discussed.
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Sehnsucht (life longings), the intense desire for optimal (utopian) states of life that are remote or unattainable, was recently introduced into life-span psychology as a concept of self-regulation (P. B. Baltes, 2008; S. Scheibe, A. M. Freund, & P. B. Baltes, 2007). The authors propose that as a compensatory strategy to deal with nonrealizability and loss, life longings may develop out of blocked goals. Individuals would cease to invest behavioral effort into its attainment and instead maintain the goal target in imagination. In a sample of 168 middle-aged childless women, the present study investigated the circumstances under which the wish for children emerges as a goal or life longing and whether the representation of the wish for children as a life longing is beneficial for well-being. The wish for children was expressed as a goal when participants rated this wish as currently intense and attainable. In contrast, it was expressed as a life longing when participants rated it as highly intense and long-standing. The pursuit of the wish for children as a life longing was positively related to well-being only when participants had high control over the experience of this life longing and when other self-regulation strategies (goal adjustment) failed.
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A hypothesized need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships is evaluated in light of the empirical literature. The need is for frequent, nonaversive interactions within an ongoing relational bond. Consistent with the belongingness hypothesis, people form social attachments readily under most conditions and resist the dissolution of existing bonds. Belongingness appears to have multiple and strong effects on emotional patterns and on cognitive processes. Lack of attachments is linked to a variety of ill effects on health, adjustment, and well-being. Other evidence, such as that concerning satiation, substitution, and behavioral consequences, is likewise consistent with the hypothesized motivation. Several seeming counterexamples turned out not to disconfirm the hypothesis. Existing evidence supports the hypothesis that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental, and extremely pervasive motivation.
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Two studies examined folk concepts of the good life. Samples of college students (N = 104) and community adults (N = 264) were shown a career survey ostensibly completed by a person rating his or her occupation. After reading the survey, participants judged the desirability and moral goodness of the respondent's life, as a function of the amount of happiness, meaning in life, and wealth experienced. Results revealed significant effects of happiness and meaning on ratings of desirability and moral goodness. In the college sample, individuals high on all 3 independent variables were judged as likely to go to heaven. In the adult sample, wealth was also related to higher desirability. Results suggest a general perception that meaning in life and happiness are essential to the folk concept of the good life, whereas money is relatively unimportant.
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Secondary analyses of Revised NEO Personality Inventory data from 26 cultures (N = 23,031) suggest that gender differences are small relative to individual variation within genders; differences are replicated across cultures for both college-age and adult samples, and differences are broadly consistent with gender stereotypes: Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas. Contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures. Contrary to predictions from the social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European and American cultures in which traditional sex roles are minimized. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are discussed, including the attribution of masculine and feminine behaviors to roles rather than traits in traditional cultures.
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Using a multimethod approach, the authors conducted 4 studies to test life span hypotheses about goal orientations across adulthood. Confirming expectations, in Studies 1 and 2 younger adults reported a primary growth orientation in their goals, whereas older adults reported a stronger orientation toward maintenance and loss prevention. Orientation toward prevention of loss correlated negatively with well-being in younger adults. In older adults, orientation toward maintenance was positively associated with well-being. Studies 3 and 4 extend findings of a self-reported shift in goal orientation to the level of behavioral choice involving cognitive and physical fitness goals. Studies 3 and 4 also examine the role of expected resource demands. The shift in goal orientation is discussed as an adaptive mechanism to manage changing opportunities and constraints across adulthood.
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The topic of an optimal or utopian life has received much attention across the humanities and the arts but not in psychology. The German concept of Sehnsucht captures individual and collective thoughts and feelings about one's optimal or utopian life. Sehnsucht (life longings; LLs) is defined as an intense desire for alternative states and realizations of life. Presenting a first effort at capturing this phenomenon, the authors conceptualize LLs as composed of 6 interrelated core characteristics: (a) utopian conceptions of ideal development; (b) sense of incompleteness and imperfection of life; (c) conjoint time focus on the past, present, and future; (d) ambivalent (bittersweet) emotions; (e) reflection and evaluation of one's life; and (f) symbolic richness. Self-report data from 299 adults (19-81 years) support the postulated structure and support predictions regarding the functional role of Sehnsucht. Having LLs was evaluated as providing direction to development and helping to manage life's incompleteness. At the same time, the frequent and intense experience of LLs was associated with lower well-being. When LLs were perceived as controllable, however, this negative association disappeared.
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Previous research suggested that sex differences in personality traits are larger in prosperous, healthy, and egalitarian cultures in which women have more opportunities equal with those of men. In this article, the authors report cross-cultural findings in which this unintuitive result was replicated across samples from 55 nations (N = 17,637). On responses to the Big Five Inventory, women reported higher levels of neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness than did men across most nations. These findings converge with previous studies in which different Big Five measures and more limited samples of nations were used. Overall, higher levels of human development--including long and healthy life, equal access to knowledge and education, and economic wealth--were the main nation-level predictors of larger sex differences in personality. Changes in men's personality traits appeared to be the primary cause of sex difference variation across cultures. It is proposed that heightened levels of sexual dimorphism result from personality traits of men and women being less constrained and more able to naturally diverge in developed nations. In less fortunate social and economic conditions, innate personality differences between men and women may be attenuated.
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Do experiences make people happier than material possessions? In two surveys, respondents from various demographic groups indicated that experiential purchases-those made with the primary intention of acquiring a life experience--made them happier than material purchases. In a follow-up laboratory experiment, participants experienced more positive feelings after pondering an experiential purchase than after pondering a material purchase. In another experiment, participants were more likely to anticipate that experiences would make them happier than material possessions after adopting a temporally distant, versus a temporally proximate, perspective. The discussion focuses on evidence that experiences make people happier because they are more open to positive reinterpretations, are a more meaningful part of one's identity, and contribute more to successful social relationships.
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The Whitehall study of British civil servants begun in 1967, showed a steep inverse association between social class, as assessed by grade of employment, and mortality from a wide range of diseases. Between 1985 and 1988 we investigated the degree and causes of the social gradient in morbidity in a new cohort of 10 314 civil servants (6900 men, 3414 women) aged 35-55 (the Whitehall 11 study). Participants were asked to answer a self-administered questionnaire and attend a screening examination. In the 20 years separating the two studies there has been no diminution in social class difference in morbidity: we found an inverse association between employment grade and prevalence of angina, electrocardiogram evidence of ischaemia, and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Self-perceived health status and symptoms were worse in subjects in lower status jobs. There were clear employment-grade differences in health-risk behaviours including smoking, diet, and exercise, in economic circumstances, in possible effects of early-life environment as reflected by height, in social circumstances at work (eg, monotonous work characterised by low control and low satisfaction), and in social supports. Healthy behaviours should be encouraged across the whole of society; more attention should be paid to the social environments, job design, and the consequences of income inequality.
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Zusammenfassung. Obwohl das Konzept der Sehnsucht in der Kunst und den Geisteswissenschaften eine grose Rolle spielt, ist es in der Psychologie bisher kaum behandelt worden. Dieser Beitrag stellt einen Entwurf fur eine lebensspannen-psychologische Konzeptualisierung des Phanomens Sehnsucht dar. Es wird vorgeschlagen, Sehnsucht durch sechs zusammenhangende Merkmale zu charakterisieren: (1) Unerreichbarkeit einer personlichen Utopie idealer Entwicklung, (2) Gefuhl der Unvollkommenheit und Unfertigkeit des Lebens, (3) Dreizeitigkeitsfokus (auf Vergangenheit, Gegenwart, Zukunft), (4) ambivalente (bittersuse) Emotionen, (5) reflexive und evaluative Prozesse und (6) Symbolhaftigkeit. Diese theoretischen Annahmen konnen empirisch anhand einer ersten Studie von Scheibe, Freund und Baltes (2007) gestutzt werden.
Chapter
This chapter proposes a model of adaptive processes of developmental regulation (e.g., control striving, goal setting) around age-graded developmental deadlines. Developmental deadlines are characterized by a radical shift from a favorable (more opportunities, less constraints) to an unfavorable (less opportunities, more constraints) developmental ecology for a given goal. They are based on the age-graded structure of constraints (biological, socio-structural, age-normative) across the life course. These constraints help to structure, anticipate, and plan the life-course timing of various developmental goals. Based on the life-span theory of control (J. Heckhausen & Schulz, 1995), we propose adaptive strategies for regulating one's own development that are conceptually differentiated into selective primary (investment of internal resources), compensatory primary (investment of external resources), selective secondary (volitional focus), and compensatory secondary control (e.g., self-protection and goal disengagement). The proposed model integrates the life-span theory of control with a motivational model of action regulation (i.e., Rubicon model, H. Heckhausen, 1989). Individuals' control strategies are expected to be selectively activated before and after developmental deadlines and thereby should facilitate successful development. Individuals who approach a certain deadline enter into an urgency phase and should enhance their efforts to reach the intended goal. By contrast, individuals who missed a deadline are expected to show a radical shift from urgent goal striving to goal disengagement and efforts to compensate negative consequences of failure. Findings from two studies investigating age-graded developmental deadlines in partnership relations and child bearing are discussed.
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An analysis of life task problem solving provides an illustration of a common language for personality and social psychologies. The personal needs of individuals and the situational affordances of social life interactively define strategic solutions to life task problems. Research on situations that encourage a gentic or communal goals in late adolescents' pursuit of the intimacy life task and on three achievement strategies in which social support takes different forms to serve different individuals' needs exemplifies the coordination of what people need to do and what situations afford to be done in daily-life problem solving.
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The individual life course is shaped by different social age systems, such as developmental tasks and social constraints. To study the extent to which age differences in goals and concerns reflect these age-graded tasks, 371 19to 64year-old subjects were asked to write down their goals and concerns and to anticipate when they would be actualised, indicating temporal extension. The results showed that adults' goals and concerns reflected the developmental tasks of their own age: Young adults frequently mentioned future educationand family-related goals, the middle-aged had goals related to their children's lives and property, and elderly people were interested in their own health, retirement, leisure activities, and the world. Young adults frequently mentioned concerns related to themselves and their friends, middle-aged and elderly people had occupationand health-related fears, respectively. Moreover, the temporal extension of adults' goals related to education, family, and occupation decreased with age, as the developmental tasks they concerned approached in time.
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This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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"A developmental task is a task which arises at or about a certain period of life of the individual, successful achievement of which leads to his happiness and to success with later tasks, while failure leads to unhappiness in the individual, disapproval by the society, and difficulty with later tasks." Developmental tasks may arise from physical maturation, from pressures of cultural processes, or from the emerging personality, usually from the interaction of these factors. Understanding of these tasks is useful in defining educational objectives and timing educational efforts. The developmental tasks of infancy and early childhood, of middle childhood, of adolescence, early adulthood, of middle age, and of later maturity are discussed in terms of their nature, their biological, psychological, and cultural basis, and their educational implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Draws on research evidence to address 3 questions: (1) When and how do midlife workers plan and prepare for retirement? (2) Do retirement transitions influence the well-being of late midlife men and women, and if so, how? (3) What is the role of a sense of control and self-efficacy in retirement planning and retirement adjustment? Beginning with a discussion of the retirement transition within a historical context, the authors summarize the evidence regarding sociodemographic, social relational, and psychological factors that have been related to retirement planning and adjustment as well as the link between retirement planning and subsequent postretirement adjustment. It is concluded that from a life course, role context perspective, the retirement transition is meaningful only when it is socially and temporarily situated in individuals' lives and in ecological context. This implies that contemporary midlife workers must prepare, not only for the changes that occur in their personal live, but also for the changes in the social and organization structures of work, retirement, careers, and the life course. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reigning measures of psychological well-being have little theoretical grounding, despite an extensive literature on the contours of positive functioning. Aspects of well-being derived from this literature (i.e., self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and personal growth) were operationalized. Three hundred and twenty-one men and women, divided among young, middle-aged, and older adults, rated themselves on these measures along with six instruments prominent in earlier studies (i.e., affect balance, life satisfaction, self-esteem, morale, locus of control, depression). Results revealed that positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life, and personal growth were not strongly tied to prior assessment indexes, thereby supporting the claim that key aspects of positive functioning have not been represented in the empirical arena. Furthermore, age profiles revealed a more differentiated pattern of well-being than is evident in prior research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
AN ESSAY ON THE PROBLEM OF ULTIMATE CONCERN, I.E., ON " "THAT WHICH DETERMINES OUR BEING OR NOT BEING . . . .' " IN THIS CONTEXT, 2 TERMS, AGENCY AND COMMUNION, ARE DEVELOPED "TO CHARACTERIZE 2 FUNDAMENTAL MODALITIES IN THE EXISTENCE OF LIVING FORMS, AGENCY FOR THE EXISTENCE OF AN ORGANISM AS AN INDIVIDUAL, AND COMMUNION FOR THE PARTICIPATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOME LARGER ORGANISM OF WHICH THE INDIVIDUAL IS A PART." THESE NOTIONS, AND THE PROBLEM OF ULTIMATE CONCERN, ARE DISCUSSED IN RELATION TO "SOCIAL ORGANIZATION, SCIENCE, IDEOLOGY, MYTH, SEXUALITY, DEATH, DISEASE, AND MAN'S PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study addressed activation and deactivation of partnership goals in a sample of 116 recently separated or committed individuals in young adulthood and late midlife. Across adulthood, the opportunities for forming a partnership decrease dramatically. The authors argue that such deteriorating opportunity structures (developmental deadlines) call for a shift from goal realization efforts to goal disengagement. The findings showed that younger as compared with older separated persons more frequently reported partnership goals, expressed greater control striving for partnership realization, and responded more to positive than to negative information about partnerships. Separated persons in late midlife disengaged from partnership goals and redirected their resources to other social domains. A longitudinal follow-up at 15 months showed that age differences in control processes were related to improvement in emotional well-being of separated individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
This chapter centers on the multiple ways in which personal and collective actions, embedded in cultural and historical contexts, form—and are formed by—development over the life span. Section 1 considers the rise of action perspectives in developmental research, with a particular emphasis on the mutually constitutive relations between development, culture, and processes of self-regulation and intentional self-development. Section 2 delineates different action-theoretical approaches and discusses related conceptual or definitional issues. In the third section, notions of contextual embeddedness, plasticity, regularity, universality in development are addressed from an action perspective. Sections 3 and 4 focus more closely on activities and component processes of intentional self-development, as well as on the development of beliefs and competences related to the control of personal development over the life span.
Article
One of the most consistent findings in epidemiologic research is a negative relation between social class and health. Health complaints are generally more common in the lower social classes. Psychosocial, together with material, cultural and behavioral factors, are among those factors, which could explain part of the socioeconomic differences in health. It is argued that integrating psychosocial factors and social class into explanatory models for differences in health would broaden insight in the development of these differences. A first step towards this integration is the examination of whether these variables are inter-related. In this study, we examined the relation between social class on the one hand, and personality and social support on the other hand. The research question was answered in a random sample of 2663 men, aged 30–70 yr, from the northern part of the Netherlands. It was found that most of the personality and support scales were related to social class. The strongest relation was found for hostility, as measured by the Buss Durkee Hostility Inventory (Buss & Durkee, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 343–349, 1957). Moreover, a clear pattern was found, indicating that lower-class subjects are in many respects in an adverse position. The findings argue for an integration of social class and psychosocial factors when studying health.
Article
Self-determination theory (SDT) maintains that an understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. We discuss the SDT concept of needs as it relates to previous need theories, emphasizing that needs specify the necessary conditions for psychological growth, integrity, and well-being. This concept of needs leads to the hypotheses that different regulatory processes underlying goal pursuits are differentially associated with effective functioning and well-being and also that different goal contents have different relations to the quality of behavior and mental health, specifically because different regulatory processes and different goal contents are associated with differing degrees of need satisfaction. Social contexts and individual differences that support satisfaction of the basic needs facilitate natural growth processes including intrinsically motivated behavior and integration of extrinsic motivations, whereas those that forestall autonomy, competence, or relatedness are associated with poorer motivation, performance, and well-being. We also discuss the relation of the psychological needs to cultural values, evolutionary processes, and other contemporary motivation theories.
Article
The authors examined social class differences in 2 aspects of the sense of control (mastery and perceived constraints) in 3 national probability samples of men and women ages 25-75 years (N1 = 1,014; N2 = 1,195; N3 = 3,485). Participants with lower income had lower perceived mastery and higher perceived constraints, as well as poorer health. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that for all income groups, higher perceived mastery and lower perceived constraints were related to better health, greater life satisfaction, and lower depressive symptoms. However, control beliefs played a moderating role; participants in the lowest income group with a high sense of control showed levels of health and well-being comparable with the higher income groups. The results provided some evidence that psychosocial variables such as sense of control may be useful in understanding social class differences in health.
Article
The Whitehall study of British civil servants begun in 1967, showed a steep inverse association between social class, as assessed by grade of employment, and mortality from a wide range of diseases. Between 1985 and 1988 we investigated the degree and causes of the social gradient in morbidity in a new cohort of 10,314 civil servants (6900 men, 3414 women) aged 35-55 (the Whitehall II study). Participants were asked to answer a self-administered questionnaire and attend a screening examination. In the 20 years separating the two studies there has been no diminution in social class difference in morbidity: we found an inverse association between employment grade and prevalence of angina, electrocardiogram evidence of ischaemia, and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Self-perceived health status and symptoms were worse in subjects in lower status jobs. There were clear employment-grade differences in health-risk behaviours including smoking, diet, and exercise, in economic circumstances, in possible effects of early-life environment as reflected by height, in social circumstances at work (eg, monotonous work characterised by low control and low satisfaction), and in social supports. Healthy behaviours should be encouraged across the whole of society; more attention should be paid to the social environments, job design, and the consequences of income inequality.
Article
Several questions about the degree to which cultural schedules exist for the timing of life transitions, as well as the nature of these schedules, remain unexplored. In this article, we examine age timetables for central family transitions. Do individuals perceive age deadlines for these transitions, and by what ages do they think that men or women should have experienced them? How much consensus exists about these deadlines? Why are they considered important, and what consequences are perceived for men or women who miss them? A key theoretical question with which we are concerned is whether contemporary thinking about these deadlines can be considered "normative." A random sample of 319 adults from the Chicago metropolitan area were interviewed about eleven separate life-course transitions, six of which were from the family sphere. By and large, the majority of respondents perceived deadlines for most of the family transitions discussed. While the deadlines cited were quite variable in range, they were also concentrated within a narrow band of ages. The dimensions underlying individuals' thinking about deadlines were centered primarily on the development of self and personality, or were linked to concerns about the sequencing of roles and experiences over lifetime. However, late timing was generally thought to be acceptable, accompanied by little social tension, and without consequences for the individual's life or the lives of other persons to whom one is intimately connected. While a rough, "normal biography" of family life existed in the minds of our respondents, the deadlines attached to that biography were flexible guidelines for the course of family life, not rigid, normative principles. These findings are discussed in light of recent debates about life-course theory and research.
Article
Study participants (175 men, 230 women) made three wishes and completed measures of the five-factor model of personality, optimism, life satisfaction, and depression. Common wishes were for achievement, affiliation, intimacy, and power as well as for happiness and money. T tests showed women were more likely to wish for improved appearance, happiness, and health; men were more likely to make power wishes and wishes for sex. Among participants who were highly involved in the wishing process, Extraversion was related to making more interpersonal wishes and wishes for positive affect. Neuroticism was related to wishes for emotional stability. Agreeableness and Openness to Experience related to wishes reflective of these traits. Conscientiousness was related to low impulsivity. Depression was related to making highly idiosyncratic, specific wishes, suggesting the use of wishful thinking as a coping mechanism. In addition, happy participants were more likely to rate their wishes as likely to come true. Results indicate that the relatively commonplace process of wishing relates to traits, gender, and well-being.
Article
This quasi-experimental research investigates developmental regulation around a critical life-span transition, the "biological clock" for childbearing. The action-phase model of developmental regulation proposes contrasting control orientations in individuals approaching versus those having passed a developmental deadline. Individuals in an urgency phase close to the deadline should be invested in goal pursuit, whereas those who have passed the deadline without attaining the goal should focus on goal disengagement and self-protection. In 2 studies, women at different ages and with or without children were compared with regard to various indicators of primary and secondary control striving for goal attainment versus goal disengagement and self-protection. Findings support the action-phase model of developmental regulation. Patterns of control striving congruent with the participants' status as pre- versus postdeadline were associated with superior psychological well-being.
Article
The differences model, which argues that males and females are vastly different psychologically, dominates the popular media. Here, the author advances a very different view, the gender similarities hypothesis, which holds that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. Results from a review of 46 meta-analyses support the gender similarities hypothesis. Gender differences can vary substantially in magnitude at different ages and depend on the context in which measurement occurs. Overinflated claims of gender differences carry substantial costs in areas such as the workplace and relationships.
Article
Conclusions about secondary control have been hindered by researchers' disparate interpretations of the construct. The current review offers a definition that reflects commonality among researchers and the spirit of the original article (F. Rothbaum, J. R. Weisz, & S. S. Snyder, 1982): Secondary control refers to the process by which people adjust some aspect of the self and accept circumstances as they are. The authors also identify a "fit versus control" dimension, along which secondary control research can be classified and reviewed. The authors conclude that fit-focused secondary control is adaptive for coping, is relatively preferred in interdependent cultural contexts, and may serve the motivation for relatedness. Control-focused definitions lead to different interpretations of the function and cultural nature of secondary control. The proposed definition and dimension should enable researchers to articulate assumptions about the function and correlates of secondary control.
Article
The subjective sense of future time plays an essential role in human motivation. Gradually, time left becomes a better predictor than chronological age for a range of cognitive, emotional, and motivational variables. Socioemotional selectivity theory maintains that constraints on time horizons shift motivational priorities in such a way that the regulation of emotional states becomes more important than other types of goals. This motivational shift occurs with age but also appears in other contexts (for example, geographical relocations, illnesses, and war) that limit subjective future time.
submitted for publication) What is new about Sehnsucht? Differentiating Sehnsucht (life longings) from goals, the ideal self, and regret in layperson’s conceptions and personal experience New territories of positive lifespan development: Wisdom and life longings
  • S Scheibe
  • A M Freund
  • Blanchard
  • F D Fields
  • Kotter
Scheibe, S., Freund, A. M., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (submitted for publication). What is new about Sehnsucht? Differentiating Sehnsucht (life longings) from goals, the ideal self, and regret in layperson’s conceptions and personal experience. 436 D. Kotter-Grühn et al./Journal of Research in Personality 43 (2009) 428–437 rScheibe, S., Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P. B. (in press). New territories of positive lifespan development: Wisdom and life longings. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Sehnsucht: Von der Suche nach Glück und Sinn (Longing: About the search for happiness and meaning) Action perspectives on human development
  • E E Boesch
  • Huber
  • J Brandtstädter
Boesch, E. E. (1998). Sehnsucht: Von der Suche nach Glück und Sinn (Longing: About the search for happiness and meaning). Bern, Switzerland: Huber. Brandtstädter, J. (2006). Action perspectives on human development. In Handbook of child psychology (6th ed.. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.). Theoretical models of human development (Vol. 1, pp. 516–568). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
submitted for publication) What is new about Sehnsucht? Differentiating Sehnsucht (life longings) from goals, the ideal self, and regret in layperson's conceptions and personal experience
  • S Scheibe
  • A M Freund
  • F Blanchard-Fields
Scheibe, S., Freund, A. M., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (submitted for publication). What is new about Sehnsucht? Differentiating Sehnsucht (life longings) from goals, the ideal self, and regret in layperson's conceptions and personal experience. D. Kotter-Grühn et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 43 (2009) 428–437
Zur inhaltlichen Bestimmung und Erfassung von Lebensqualität im Umfeld schwerer körperlicher Erkrankungen (On the conceptualization and measurement of quality of life in the context of severe physical illness)
  • Filipp
Filipp, S.-H., & Ferring, D. (1991). Zur inhaltlichen Bestimmung und Erfassung von Lebensqualität im Umfeld schwerer körperlicher Erkrankungen (On the conceptualization and measurement of quality of life in the context of severe physical illness). Praxis der Klinischen Verhaltensmedizin und Rehabilitation, 16, 274–283.
(in press) New territories of positive lifespan development: Wisdom and life longings Handbook of Positive Psychology Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in big five personality traits across 55 cultures
  • S Kunzmann
  • U Baltes
, S., Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P. B. (in press). New territories of positive lifespan development: Wisdom and life longings. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Schmitt, D. P., Realo, A., Voracek, M., & Allik, J. (2008). Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in big five personality traits across 55 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 168–182.
Sehnsucht: Von der Suche nach Glück und Sinn (Longing: About the search for happiness and meaning)
  • E E Boesch
Boesch, E. E. (1998). Sehnsucht: Von der Suche nach Glück und Sinn (Longing: About the search for happiness and meaning). Bern, Switzerland: Huber.