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Purpose in Life as a Resource for Increasing Comfort With Ethnic Diversity

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Abstract

Emerging demographic trends signal that White Americans will soon relinquish their majority status. As Whites' acclimation to an increasingly diverse society is poised to figure prominently in their adjustment, identifying sources of greater comfort with diversity is important. Three studies (N = 519) revealed evidence that purpose in life bolsters comfort with ethnic diversity among White adults. Specifically, dispositional purpose was positively related to diversity attitudes and attenuated feelings of threat resulting from viewing demographic projections of greater diversity. In addition, when primed experimentally, purpose attenuated participants' preferences for living in an ethnically homogeneous-White city, relative to a more diverse city when shown maps displaying ethno-demographic information. These effects persisted after controlling for positive affect and perceived connections to ethnic out-groups, suggesting the robust influence of purpose. Potential benefits of situating purpose as a unique resource for navigating an increasingly diverse society are discussed.

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... Consistent with this work, white Americans have been found to reveal a preference for other white Americans both historically and in contemporary US society (Bobo et al. 2012, Duckitt 2010, especially when such preferences are assessed relatively unobtrusively (Banaji & Greenwald 2013, Crosby et al. 1980. For instance, although multiply determined, white Americans continue to show a preference for living in relatively segregated neighborhoods (Bobo et al. 2012, Burrow et al. 2014. Further, as the influence of explicit racial bias seems to be on the decline in many social arenas, recent theoretical and empirical work argues that it is everyday discrimination in the form of ingroup favoritism that maintains racial disparities, for instance, in employment (DiTomaso 2013) and many legal outcomes (Sommers & Marotta 2014). ...
... In other words, racial diversity is thought to be important because it increases opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds to interact with and learn from one another and, in so doing, reduce the negative stereotypes and attitudes that often come from merely passively learning about each another (e.g., through media representation; Weisbuch et al. 2009). The evidence in favor of the benefits of interpersonal contact is indeed quite compelling (Brown & Hewstone 2005, Pettigrew & Tropp 2006, even when the "optimal conditions" originally outlined by Allport (1954)-equal status, cooperation, common goals, and support from relevant authorities-have not been met (see Hewstone et al. 2014). Interestingly, research finds that the effects of contact on intergroup attitudes are larger for members of majority groups than members of minority groups (Tropp & Pettigrew 2005), reflecting, again, the potential for racial diversity not only to be construed differently by members of dominant and subordinate racial groups but also to be experienced differently as a function of group status. ...
... A series of recent experiments finds that making salient the changing US racial population triggers greater prowhite/antiracial minority sentiment in both whites' explicit and more automatic attitude assessments, compared with making salient the current population, or even making salient a similar majority-minority shift in a foreign country (Craig & Richeson 2014a; see also Outten et al. 2012). Further, this population shift is perceived as a threat to whites' status in society and increases their resistance to racial diversity (Burrow et al. 2014, Danbold & Huo 2015. It also increases their endorsement of political conservatism, including (but not limited to) policies pertaining to race, such as immigration and affirmative action (Craig & Richeson 2014b). ...
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The United States, like many nations, continues to experience rapid growth in its racial minority population and is projected to attain so-called majority-minority status by 2050. Along with these demographic changes, staggering racial disparities persist in health, wealth, and overall well-being. In this article, we review the social psychological literature on race and race relations, beginning with the seemingly simple question: What is race? Drawing on research from different fields, we forward a model of race as dynamic, malleable, and socially constructed, shifting across time, place, perceiver, and target. We then use classic theoretical perspectives on intergroup relations to frame and then consider new questions regarding contemporary racial dynamics. We next consider research on racial diversity, focusing on its effects during interpersonal encounters and for groups. We close by highlighting emerging topics that should top the research agenda for the social psychology of race and race relations in the twenty-first century. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 67 is January 03, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
... Importantly, there is evidence to suggest that individuals induced to think about purpose can experience similar positive outcomes to individuals with high levels of dispositional purpose (e.g., Burrow & Hill, 2013;Burrow, Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014). Generally, these manipulations involve a writing task wherein participants describe their purpose in life. ...
... Generally, these manipulations involve a writing task wherein participants describe their purpose in life. For instance, in one study (Burrow, Stanley, et al., 2014), participants responded to the following: ...
... Purpose in life is associated with increased comfort with racial diversity, and self-affirmation has been shown to reduce implicit racial biases. Research suggests that purposeful individuals are more comfortable in socially diverse settings (e.g., Burrow & Hill, 2013;Burrow, Stanley, et al., 2014). In a set of studies examining the impact of ethnic composition of a busy commuter train on passenger mood, passengers low in purpose experienced negative mood when the percentage of out-group members on the train increased. ...
Article
Individuals contend with a variety of threats in daily life and may attempt to deal with them using various cognitive strategies. Two constructs borne from different literatures, purpose in life and self‐affirmation, serve to promote well‐being and to protect individuals from such threats. While self‐affirmation has often been examined as a manipulation, purpose has, until recently, been considered a dispositional resource. However, both self‐affirmation and purpose seem to confer similar advantages in response to threat. This paper reviews the evidence for the protective benefits of both purpose in life and self‐affirmation, describes the mechanisms by which each confers these advantages, and considers the boundary conditions of each. Key similarities and differences are discussed, and we argue that there are broad gaps in the literature regarding where and when these constructs might operate differentially, or why these differences exist. We conclude with a call to researchers to explore empirically how and when these important interventions might be differentially beneficial to those who cultivate them.
... Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014). In addition, Florez, Walsh, Bowden, Stewart, and Schulenberg (2013) found that among White college students, greater levels of perceived meaning were associated with lower levels of negative attitudes, lower social dominance beliefs, and lower negative automatic stereotyping toward Black individuals. ...
... Second, meaning could affect prejudice by facilitating commitment to values despite intergroup anxiety (Burrow et al., 2014;Florez et al., 2016). Previous research has revealed that individuals who perceive greater purpose in life endorse less anxiety when being exposed to diverse groups and are more willing to interact with individuals who are racially/ethnically different from themselves (Burrow et al., 2014). ...
... Second, meaning could affect prejudice by facilitating commitment to values despite intergroup anxiety (Burrow et al., 2014;Florez et al., 2016). Previous research has revealed that individuals who perceive greater purpose in life endorse less anxiety when being exposed to diverse groups and are more willing to interact with individuals who are racially/ethnically different from themselves (Burrow et al., 2014). It is possible that meaning buffers intergroup anxiety via its association with psychological flexibility (the capacity to commit to values, even when a person is experiencing significant distress) (Kashdan & Kane, 2011;Smout, Davies, Burns, & Christie, 2014), which has been shown to predict lower levels of generalized prejudice (Levin et al., 2016;Lillis & Hayes, 2007). ...
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Recent research suggests that meaning in life relates to processes of social judgments and could facilitate relationships between racially diverse individuals. At this time however, there is no study that examines factors that influence the relationship between meaning, racial prejudice, and values. To fill this gap, the present study examined whether (1) self-transcendence and (2) psychological inflexibility mediates the relationship between perceived meaning in life and prejudice. The study was conducted with 253 White students (females, 77.9%; males, 22.1%) from a university located in the southern United States. Standard path-analytic approaches through the macro PROCESS program were used to examine a parallel mediational model. Results evidenced that self-transcendence and psychological inflexibility had a significant indirect effect on the relationship between meaning in life and prejudice, and that reversely, meaning also functioned as a mediator of self-transcendence and prejudice and psychological inflexibility and prejudice. Findings suggest that among White college students the effect of meaning on prejudice changes in the context of self-transcendence and psychological inflexibility, and that without self-transcendence and psychological flexibility, meaning could actually result in greater prejudice.
... There are some promising avenues for intervention development to strengthen prosocial purpose. Burrow et al. (2014) found that asking participants to spend a few minutes writing about what they felt may be their purpose in life was enough to enhance this temporarily, though it is unclear if this has a lasting impact and is not specific to prosocial purpose. Bundick (2011) also conducted individual interviews with emerging adults in a university student population to assess if having a reflective discussion about their purpose in life could facilitate purpose development and found that it increased goal-directedness and life-satisfaction relative to the control group. ...
... It may also be possible to foster empathy toward non-human animals and plant life (Adams, 2014;Barrett et al., 2015;IPCC, 2018). The writing exercise undertaken by participants in Burrow et al. (2014) may have linked abstract learning with reflection, whilst Uneputty et al. (1998); Stepenuck and Green (2015), and Wyles et al. (2017) operated through the experiential learning-reflection pathway to meaning-making, according to experiential learning theory (Kolb, 1984). ...
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Human beings face unprecedented social and environmental challenges which require collective action and changes in health-related behavior. The threat of climate change is becoming an increasingly urgent issue for humanity and the natural environment. Alongside this, there is evidence that loneliness and social isolation can significantly impact cardiovascular health and mortality through direct and indirect processes, for example by increasing risky behaviors. However, one construct that has so far received little attention in health psychology is that of purpose. Purpose is thought to be self-regulatory; it derives from a greater sense of meaning yet is goal-directed and involves a stable and generalized intention toward accomplishment. The development of a sense of purpose is associated with improved mental and physical health. However, it is possible that one facet of purpose, prosocial orientation, may have a particularly beneficial effect on psychological well-being, increasing generativity and personal growth. Prosocial purpose may also help explain the growth in the number of people in the West who are reducing their meat and dairy intake, which may help mitigate climate change. It may also help explain the rise of civic engagement in environmental volunteering and support for conservation amongst some individuals and communities, which can also confer additional health benefits. Cultivating prosocial purpose may aid engagement in behavior change initiatives which may improve individual health and help address these wider social challenges, such as changing one’s diet to help address climate change, volunteering and engaging in physical activity outdoors to support the environment, and supporting active engagement with vulnerable groups at risk of social isolation and loneliness. Cultivating prosocial purpose may also support self-advocacy for social changes which can benefit community health. It may be possible to cultivate prosocial purpose through interventions which involve experiential and abstract learning experiences that increase empathy, stimulate reflection and lead to meaning-making processes. This may then facilitate development of a sense of prosocial purpose because meaning-making is thought to be a precursor to purpose development. Doing so may be important to engage populations in efforts to combat climate change and address social isolation and loneliness.
... A growing body of literature suggests that many White individuals in the United States perceive the increasing population of People of Color in the United States as a threat to their dominant social, economic, and political status (Craig, Rucker, & Richeson, 2018). Awareness of shifting demographics has been correlated with increased anxiety and negative affect (Burrow, Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014;Myers & Levy, 2018), increased anger and fear toward ethnic minorities (Outten, Schmitt, Miller, & Garcia, 2012), a greater preference for racial homophily (Craig & Richeson, 2014;Schildkraut & Marotta, 2018;Skinner & Cheadle, 2016), and favoritism toward the White racial in-group (Craig et al., 2018). These fears have manifested at both the political and individual levels, with policies banning immigration from several Muslim majority countries and the proposed wall at the United States' Southern border. ...
Article
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The psychological study of Whiteness provides one avenue for researchers to help combat racial injustice in the United States. This article is a call to action for counseling psychologists to engage in much needed scholarship and critical examinations of Whiteness. In this systematic review and content analysis, we provide an overview of 18 quantitative measures focusing on various aspects of Whiteness published between 1967 and 2017. We summarize the constructs and psychometric properties of these measures. Our content analysis indicated that constructs assessed by Whiteness measures have shifted in focus over time across four themes: (a) Attitudes Toward Black People/Integration, (b) Modern Racism, (c) White Racial Identity, and (d) White Privilege and Antiracism. We conclude with suggestions on how advancement, development, and use of Whiteness measures could further our knowledge through research examining present-day racial justice issues. The issues highlighted include police brutality, xenophobia, immigration, White supremacy, activism, and training in the field.
... given classic research noting the role of perceived threat from increasing racial/ethnic diversity in the promotion (or expression) of intergroup hostility (e.g., Blalock 1967;Blumer 1958), and research finding that white Americans who (mis)perceive greater national racial diversity tend also to hold more negative racial attitudes (e.g., Alba, Rumbaut, and Marotz 2005), it is perhaps of no surprise that salient anticipated societal demographic changes like the "majority-minority" shift also affect whites' intergroup attitudes. Indeed, experiments reveal that exposure to these anticipated changes results in increased feelings of anxiety and negative affect among white Americans (Burrow et al. 2014;Myers and Levy, this volume). Additional research finds that making anticipated national racial demographic changes salient leads both white Americans and white Canadians to express more anger and fear toward ethnic minorities and more sympathy for whites, compared with whites not exposed to these demographic shifts (Outten et al. 2012). ...
Article
Do demographic shifts in the racial composition of the United States promote positive changes in the nation’s racial dynamics? Change in response to the nation’s growing diversity is likely, but its direction and scope are less clear. This review integrates emerging social-scientific research that examines how Americans are responding to the projected changes in the racial/ethnic demographics of the United States. Specifically, we review recent empirical research that examines how exposure to information that the United States is becoming a “majority-minority” nation affects racial attitudes and several political outcomes (e.g., ideology, policy preferences), and the psychological mechanisms that give rise to those attitudes. We focus primarily on the reactions of members of the current dominant racial group (i.e., white Americans). We then consider important implications of these findings and propose essential questions for future research.
... Further research evaluated how purpose related to feeling comfortable with diversity using self-reports and different experimental scenarios (Burrow, Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014). Over three different studies, researchers found that sense of purpose was positively related with comfort with diversity and negatively associated with perceived threat toward ethnic majority status among White participants. ...
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The current review systematically addresses our ongoing research into the impact of finding purpose, considering its importance from a developmental lens. Regarding psychological well-being, our past work has shown that higher sense of purpose levels relates to greater life satisfaction, positive affect, grit, and hope. When considering health, we have found that a higher sense of purpose relates to fewer negative daily symptoms, predicts greater longevity, and predicts more beneficial cognitive outcomes. Sense of purpose also appears connected to greater comfort with and openness to diversity. Finally, having a higher sense of purpose level also predicts both greater net worth and income over time. In each section, directions for future research are discussed, specifically emphasizing purpose exploration and commitment from a lifespan perspective.
... Purpose during youth is associated with many character strengths in Peterson and Seligman's (2004) taxonomy, including hope and optimism (Bronk, Hill, Lapsley, Talib, & Finch, 2009;Burrow & Hill, 2011;Mariano & Savage, 2009), kindness (i.e., compassion, generosity;Malin et al., 2017;Mariano & Savage, 2009), love and social intelligence (i.e., empathy; Mariano & Savage, 2009), gratitude (Malin et al., 2017;Sharma & De Alba, 2018), self-regulation and perseverance (Hill, Burrow, & Bronk, 2016;Linver et al., 2018;Malin et al., 2017;Sharma & De Alba, 2018), honesty/integrity (Mariano & Savage, 2009), vitality/zest (Mariano & Savage, 2009), religiousness/spirituality (Carr, King, & Meier, 2014;Mariano & Savage, 2009), and humility (Bronk, 2008). Openness to experience was positively associated with purpose in a few studies (e.g., Burrow, Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014;Hill et al., 2016;Mariano & Savage, 2009), and may mirror strengths of curiosity, love of learning, or open-mindedness. One study found a negative relationship between purpose and humor (Mariano & Savage, 2009). ...
Article
In theory, purpose has implications for fostering good character, yet almost no research considers this proposition. This study examined character strengths in interviews with eight adolescent and young adult purpose exemplars and with informants who know them well. Most mentioned, general, typical, and variant strength occurrences were compared between purpose exemplars ( n = 8) and their informants ( n = 16). The groups agreed on prevalence of some strengths, but exemplars reported a much broader range of virtues to characterize their experience, with greater emphasis on virtues requiring maturity, such as wisdom, temperance, and transcendence, as well as strengths pertaining to inquisitiveness. The study supports associations of purpose with single character strengths but also aligns with the unitary view of character.
... Past research shows that sense of purpose can be manipulated through modest writing prompts, yielding significant changes in behavioral intention (Burrow et al., 2014). Though untested, these studies scaffold efforts by companies and political figures to frequently invoke purpose, insofar that having individuals reflect on the idea may be sufficient for behavioral changes. ...
Article
Rationale Despite the clear public health significance of herd immunity to COVID-19, a host of individual differences influence willingness to get vaccinated. One factor likely to motivate individuals is the extent they have a sense of purpose in life, based on the health correlates of purpose and purposeful individuals’ desire to return to their pre-pandemic environments. Objective The current study examined sense of purpose as a predictor of COVID-19 vaccination willingness in the United States immediately following the initial approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States in 2020. Methods A nationwide sample of U. S. adults (N = 2009) completed a poll including information on their sense of purpose in life, demographic factors, and depressive symptoms, immediately following the initial approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States in 2020. In addition, they reported on how willing they would be to get the vaccine, assuming that the costs would be covered, as well as their motivations to get the vaccine. Results Multiple regression analyses found that sense of purpose predicted greater willingness to get vaccinated, even when accounting for demographic factors, political affiliation, and psychological wellbeing. Adults higher on sense of purpose reported greater importance of getting the vaccine for personal health, the health of others, and to return to regular activities. Exploratory analyses also suggest that purpose may provide a stronger impetus to vaccinate among those in age groups associated with lower risk for severe COVID-19 complications. Conclusions: Although cross-sectional in nature, the current findings suggest sense of purpose in life may be an important factor in encouraging vaccination. Implications are discussed regarding how purposeful messaging may yield greater vaccination rates among individuals who otherwise may be less motivated due to health concerns.
... Ranging from Black Lives Matter, to gerrymandering and voter suppression, to the controversy over Critical Race Theory, race and racism exist at the heart of many contemporary political issues in the U.S. The positive association between right-wing authoritarianism, particularly authoritarian aggression, and outgroup animus is well-documented [1][2][3][4][5][6]. The relationship between meaning in life and racism is considerably more nuanced, with past research sometimes showing positive [89], and negative [90] relationships. Given the centrality of race and racism to modern U.S. politics, and the outgroup aggression implicated by authoritarian values, future research should extend the current results by directly assessing their relevance to the effects observed here, and more broadly to racial attitudes and support for policies that advance vs. inhibit equality. ...
Article
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Five studies tested the effect of exposure to authoritarian values on positive affect (PA), negative affect (NA), and meaning in life (MIL). Study 1 ( N = 1,053) showed that simply completing a measure of right-wing authoritarianism (vs. not) prior to rating MIL led to higher MIL. Preregistered Study 2 ( N = 1,904) showed that reading speeches by real-world authoritarians (e.g., Adolf Hitler) led to lower PA, higher NA, and higher MIL than a control passage. In preregistered Studies 3 ( N = 1,573) and 4 ( N = 1,512), Americans read authoritarian, egalitarian, or control messages and rated mood, MIL, and evaluated the passages. Both studies showed that egalitarian messages led to better mood and authoritarian messages led to higher MIL. Study 5 ( N = 148) directly replicated these results with Canadians. Aggregating across studies ( N = 3,401), moderational analyses showed that meaning in life, post manipulation, was associated with more favorable evaluations of the authoritarian passage. In addition, PA was a stronger predictor of MIL in the egalitarian and control conditions than in the authoritarian condition. Further results showed no evidence that negative mood (or disagreement) spurred the boost in MIL. Implications and future directions are discussed.
... Ambos os empreendimentos foram bem-sucedidos, agregando dados importantes à intervenção com adultos e idosos com demências 51 . O terceiro estudo experimental diferenciou-se dos demais pelo tema sensível, atitudes quanto à diversidade étnica, em face de outras variáveis afetivas, inclusive PV, e cognitivas 52 . O estudo foi uma tentativa relevante de testar a possibilidade de intervir nessas condições, em favor da sociedade (Quadro 4). ...
Article
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Purpose in life (PiL) is defined as the sense that life has meaning and intentionality, and plays a guiding role in life goals and decision making regarding the use of personal resources. Objectives: to recognize and analyze data on PiL and conditions associated with good aging or with positive adaptation in aging. Method: an integrative review of articles in peer-reviewed journals published in the PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycInfo and Scielo/BVS/Lilacs databases was performed using the terms "purpose in life" and "aging" in the title, without temporal restriction. Results: twenty-seven articles were selected, 22 of which were conducted under large prospective longitudinal studies, 3 were cross-sectional studies and 2 were experimental studies. The studies revealed robust associations between high PiL scores and lower risk of death, Alzheimer's disease, coronary and cerebrovascular diseases, disability, and sleep disorders; high PiL and positive outcomes in health, cognition, emotional regulation, subjective well-being, and sense of adjustment; PiL as a moderator or resilience resource between risks and adversities and good adaptation. These data are useful for research and intervention involving long-lived and vulnerable older persons.
... On one hand, purposeful individuals may generate more positive events as a result of their greater life engagement (Scheier et al., 2006) and progression toward their life direction (Ryff, 2014). On the other hand, purposeful individuals may be more likely to perceive events as being more positive in their daily lives, similar to how purpose appears to shape individuals' perceptions of daily obstacles (Burrow, Stanley, Sumner, & Hill, 2014). Related work has similarly shown that positive affect shapes individuals' perceptions of the extent to which their days and activities are meaningful (King, Hicks, Krull, & Del Giaso, 2006), and thus it would be valuable to consider the extent to which sense of purpose uniquely influences perceptions of daily events. ...
Article
Sense of purpose has proven a consistent predictor of positive outcomes during adulthood. However, it remains unclear how purposeful adults respond to positive events in their daily lives. The current study examined whether sense of purpose predicted the frequency of daily positive events, as well as participants' affect on days with a positive event, across 8 days in an adult sample (n = 1959; mean age: 56 years). Sense of purpose predicted a greater frequency of daily positive events. Moreover, sense of purpose moderated the associations between daily positive events and daily positive affect; purposeful adults experienced less of an increase in positive affect both on the current day and the day following the positive event. Findings are discussed with respect to how purpose in life may serve homeostatic functions, insofar that having a life direction reduces responsivity to daily events and promote affect stability. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... For instance, individuals with a greater sense of purpose showed less negative affective reactivity to naturally occurring changes in ethnic composition of passengers during public transport (Burrow & Hill, 2013). Similar results have been found when asking people to read narratives about a challenge to their group majority status, insofar that purposeful individuals reported less negative affect in that experimental condition (Burrow et al., 2014). Moreover, one study found that sense of purpose predicted more adaptive emotional recovery after being presented with emotionally charged stimuli in the laboratory (Schaefer et al., 2013). ...
Article
Objective Sense of purpose has been associated with greater health and well-being, even in daily contexts. However, it is unclear whether effects would hold in daily life during COVID-19, when people may have difficulty seeing a path towards their life goals. Design The current study investigated whether purposefulness predicted daily positive affect, negative affect, and physical symptoms. Participants (n = 831) reported on these variables during the first weeks of the COVID-19 response in North America. Main outcome measures Participants completed daily surveys asking them for daily positive events, stressors, positive affect, negative affect, physical symptoms, and purposefulness. Results Purposefulness at between- and within-person levels predicted less negative affect and physical symptoms, but more positive affect at the daily level. Between-person purposefulness interacted with positive events when predicting negative and positive affect, suggesting that purposeful people may be less reactive to positive events. However, between-person purposefulness also interacted with daily stressors, insofar that stressors predicted greater declines in positive affect for purposeful people. Conclusion Being a purposeful person holds positive implications for daily health and well-being, even during the pandemic context. However, purposefulness may hold some consequences unique to the COVID-19 context, which merit attention in future research.
Chapter
Life purpose is fundamentally ecological: individual life purpose aims interacting with cultural resources generate momentum in individual lives and in cultures. A dynamic life momentum loop model highlights how a purpose practice starts with a purpose aim (mental representation of a specific prosocial effect), filtered by personal meaning (significance or importance), that influences perception of situational resources (a subset of a culture’s shared meanings, artifacts, practices and “behavioral defaults” stored in the “common good”) to initiate opportunities to enact the envisioned prosocial effect, and afterward evaluate perceived feedback for effectiveness. Cultures also develop and, with increasing multicultural contact, individuals can influence and be influenced by multiple common goods. Repetitions of this purpose practice loop generate individual life momentum and shared cultural momentum.
Article
Diversity and inclusion are a key goal in 21st century society, but people continue to self‐segregate in occupations, communities, and everyday interactions. Are people's choices to separate by groups into these different spaces truly “free?” In this paper, we review and extend a new framework for understanding how social identities contextually and automatically constrain the choices people make. We consider how situations subtly cue a sense of fit to one's identity, automatically eliciting state authenticity and a desire to return to those settings that afford authenticity and avoid those that do not. Actors and observers alike often explain these behaviors after the fact as freely chosen. We discuss how the SAFE model can clarify and expand what it means to feel a sense of belonging and explain why those who are advantaged in a setting are often less aware of the way in which their identity advantages them. We end by highlighting how environments can be shaped to foster fit and authenticity among members of underrepresented groups as a means to facilitate diversity.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on gender as an example of how social identity might contour the purpose development process, including purpose exploration and commitment, and the specific content of people’s chosen purpose in life. Enacting gender roles over time can lead to the development of attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are aligned with societal expectations about one’s gender, all of which may contribute to individuals’ exploration of and commitment to purpose contents that are aligned with gender expectations as well. After outlining potential connections between gender and purpose exploration, commitment, and content, future directions for research are described, including: articulating costs associated with developing purpose in a patriarchal context, integrating intersectionality into research on purpose development, and moving beyond the gender binary to more accurately reflect people’s lived experiences developing and maintaining a sense of purpose in life.
Article
This study is an attempt to develop an index on ethnic tolerance among the Malay, Chinese and Indian undergraduate students of three Malaysian public universities. It focuses on three main domains: religious practices, ethnic‒cross relationship and governance. The data of 378 respondents were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) software version 22. The calculation and the measurement of the index are based on the method and equations used in calculating the index among Malaysian youths in 2015 that were capable of incorporating many domains. All the domains are significant in contributing to ethnic tolerance the composite index value of 4.13 out of 5 was obtained which shows the students are at the level of highly tolerant.
Article
Many people expect their work to provide meaning to their lives, yet the specific organizational factors that can promote meaning in life are not clearly delineated. Drawing on the basic science of meaning in life, in this paper we propose that work entails a host of experiences that foster meaning in life. We begin by defining meaning in life, noting its placement within the broader well-being literature and dispelling common myths about its rarity in people’s lives. After highlighting the myriad benefits of meaning for individuals and organizations, we describe several established sources of meaning in life and their relevance to work. We then examine how work orientations and social demographic factors influence the propensity to seek meaning through work. We conclude with a discussion of future research directions that can better illuminate the predictors and functions of meaningfulness at work.
Article
This study applied self-determination theory to youth purpose development among Korean college students. It examined the effects of students’ intrinsic motivation for volunteering and informative feedback from significant others on three dimensions of life purpose: confidence in purpose, commitment to purpose and social contribution. The study also tested whether informative feedback influenced the relationship of intrinsic motivation and life purpose development. Participants were 110 Korean college students taking a one-semester service-learning class. The results showed that informative feedback positively affected commitment to purpose and social contribution, especially for students who had low intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation and feedback both positively predicted students’ confidence in purpose. To positively influence students’ life purpose development, these results suggest the importance of providing college students with intrinsically motivated experiences plus informative feedback that supports their competence during service work.
Article
The current research explores how local racial diversity affects Whites' efforts to structure their local communities to avoid incidental intergroup contact. In two experimental studies (N = 509; Studies 1a-b), we consider Whites' choices to structure a fictional, diverse city and find that Whites choose greater racial segregation around more (vs. less) self-relevant landmarks (e.g., their workplace and children's school). Specifically, the more time they expect to spend at a landmark, the more they concentrate other Whites around that landmark, thereby reducing opportunities for incidental intergroup contact. Whites also structure environments to reduce incidental intergroup contact by instituting organizational policies that disproportionately exclude non-Whites: Two large-scale archival studies (Studies 2a-b) using data from every U.S. tennis (N = 15,023) and golf (N = 10,949) facility revealed that facilities in more racially diverse communities maintain more exclusionary barriers (e.g., guest policies, monetary fees, dress codes) that shield the patrons of these historically White institutions from incidental intergroup contact. In a final experiment (N = 307; Study 3), we find that Whites' anticipated intergroup anxiety is one driver of their choices to structure environments to reduce incidental intergroup contact in more (vs. less) racially diverse communities. Our results suggest that despite increasing racial diversity, White Americans structure local environments to fuel a self-perpetuating cycle of segregation.
Article
Purpose in life has been discussed as a psychosocial process in which individuals construct their life aims in relation to other people. Consequently, difficulty attending to social cues could limit the extent to which individuals feel purposeful. The present study (N = 252) examined links between subclinical autistic features found in the general population and perceived purpose in life. Results showed that autistic features were negatively associated with purpose even after accounting for age, gender, positive mood, and dispositions in Big 5 personality traits. Findings are discussed in terms of directions for future research aimed at elucidating the mechanisms that may explain the observed associations. In completing this study, it is hoped that the present findings can be utilized as groundwork for the investigation of psychosocial development in special populations.
Article
There is an abundance of research demonstrating the benefits associated with having a sense of purpose in life, but much of this work utilizes academic (high school or college students) or well-educated adult samples. This study compared adults who graduated from college to adults with no or some college experience on a number of dimensions related to purpose development, including: the process of exploration (purpose pathway), overall level of purpose, and the content of one’s purpose (purpose orientation). The relationship between purpose and psychological assets such as agency and subjective well-being was also compared across groups. Results demonstrated that there were no differences by education level with regard to overall level of purpose or one’s purpose pathways, but education predicted purpose orientation and agency, even when controlling for purpose. The lack of difference in purpose between adults with different levels of education bodes well for the field, which has relied heavily on college student samples. Implications for existing and future research on purpose in life are discussed.
Article
Research has demonstrated the importance of having a purpose in older adulthood; however, little is known about whether and how individuals vary on sense of purpose over time. The current study examined patterns of mean- and individual-level change in purpose among men in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (n = 587, Mage = 74 years) across a 3-year span. Findings demonstrate that while little mean-level change was present, there was interindividual variability in change. Further research is needed to understand why these changes occur, as age, health status, and personality failed to predict individual fluctuations in purpose. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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The inter-group contact hypothesis states that interactions between individuals belonging to different groups will influence the attitudes and behavior between members of these different groups. The two dominant measures of inter-group contact are context (i.e., size of a minority group within a specified geographic area) and individual behavior (i.e., personal contact between members of the majority and minority groups). The contextual and behavioral measures of contact produce divergent findings. The contextual contact literature finds that whites residing in areas with high concentrations of minority populations have significantly more negative attitudes toward minorities and minority-based public policies than whites residing in areas with low concentrations of minority populations. The behavioral contact literature finds that inter-group contacting among majority and minority populations significantly reduces prejudicial attitudes and opinions about minorities and minority-based policies. In this article we examine both contextual and behavioral measures of the contact hypothesis as they influence white attitudes toward immigrant populations (i.e., Hispanics) and white policy positions toward immigration policies. We offer and test an explanation for the literature's divergent findings.
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Having a purpose in life has been cited consistently as an indicator of healthy aging for several reasons, including its potential for reducing mortality risk. In the current study, we sought to extend previous findings by examining whether purpose in life promotes longevity across the adult years, using data from the longitudinal Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) sample. Proportional-hazards models demonstrated that purposeful individuals lived longer than their counterparts did during the 14 years after the baseline assessment, even when controlling for other markers of psychological and affective well-being. Moreover, these longevity benefits did not appear to be conditional on the participants' age, how long they lived during the follow-up period, or whether they had retired from the workforce. In other words, having a purpose in life appears to widely buffer against mortality risk across the adult years.
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The field of psychology has been slow to recognize the importance of purpose for positive youth development. Until recently, purpose was understood, if at all, as a means of adapting to threatening conditions rather than as a motivator of good deeds and galvanizer of character growth. Moreover, in most psychological studies, purpose has been conflated with personal meaning, a broader and more internally oriented construct. This article offers a new operational definition of purpose that distinguishes it from meaning in an internalistic sense, and it reviews the existing psychological studies pertinent to the development of purpose during youth. The ar- ticle identifies a number of urgent questions concerning how—and whether—young people today are acquiring positive purposes to dedicate themselves to and, if so, what the nature of today's youth purposes might be. When Victor Frankl published the English edition of Man's Search for Meaning in 1959, the book's instant influence forced psychology to come to terms with the primary importance of high-level belief systems that had been considered derivative or epi-phenomenal by the major theories.1 The notion that ethereal constructs such as "meaning" and "purpose" could make a differ- ence—that they could motivate someone to do some- thing, or even shape a person's basic choices about how to live—seemed impossibly soft-headed and sentimen- tal to mainstream psychologists of that time. If the be- haviorist and psychoanalytic schools (the two best-known bodies of psychological work at midcentury) agreed on anything at all, it was that mean- ing, purpose, and other such belief systems were the products of more fundamental drives; that they were de- pendant on the drives for their shape, substance, and very existence; and that meaning and purpose were no more than marginal factors in behavioral development. To this entrenched materialist position, Frankl (1959) wrote (in the non-"degenderized" language of his day): Man's search for meaning is a primary force in his life and not a "secondary rationalization" of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning. There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are "nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations." But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my "defense mechanisms," nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my "reaction for- mations." Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values! (p. 121)
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In a variation on Pennebaker's writing paradigm, a sample of 81 undergraduates wrote about one of four topics for 20 minutes each day for 4 consecutive days. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their most traumatic life event, their best possible future self, both of these topics, or a nonemotional con- trol topic. Mood was measured before and after writing and health center data for illness were obtained with participant con- sent. Three weeks later, measures of subjective well-being were obtained. Writing about life goals was significantly less upset- ting than writing about trauma and was associated with a sig- nificant increase in subjective well-being. Five months after writ- ing, a significant interaction emerged such that writing about trauma, one's best possible self, or both were associated with decreased illness compared with controls. Results indicate that writing about self-regulatory topics can be associated with the same health benefits as writing about trauma.
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Purpose is an intention and a cognitive sense of one’s life. As an intention, purpose is the quality of being determined to do or achieve something, which resides in all forms of life in the universe. For humans, however, the valence and likelihood of enactment of the intention of purpose is capricious, as is the resulting sense of purpose in life. When absent or low, a sense of purpose places individuals at risk for psychopathologies; when present in sufficient levels, a sense of purpose buffers against adversity and enhances life chances. Unfortunately, studies show that key measures of “authentic purpose”, which are a psychological purpose in life (i.e. direction and goals) and social contribution (i.e. has something of value to give to society), are at their zenith in young adulthood and decline steadily throughout the lifespan. In addition to reviewing the religious and social scientific literature on the nature, function, and age trajectories of purpose in adult life, this article explores why this important infrastructure of life does not increase or remain constant throughout adulthood. To that end, this article reviews whether and how the modern university is, or is not, sustaining or promoting purpose in life in students in preparation for their occupancy and custodianship of important social roles throughout adulthood. Particular attention is then focused on how purpose in life does and does not emerge in work-life and occupations in adulthood. Literature is reviewed on the nature of work in terms of “callings”, “careers”, and “jobs”, the prevalence of callings in the workplace, and the consequences of callings in work and life.
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Multiple regression procedures were used to evaluate the contribution to attitudes toward diversity of three personality-related variables (authoritarianism, tolerance for ambiguity, and self-esteem) for which theory suggests that diversity may be seen as a threat (the “threat hypothesis”) and two dimensions of the five-factor model (FFM) (openness to experience and agreeableness). Participants included 238 undergraduate business students, of whom 47% were female and 36% non-white. For confirmatory purposes, a full path analysis model including attitudes toward diversity, the three threat variables, and all five of the FFM variables was fit to the data. The results of the hierarchical regressions suggest two of the threat traits (authoritarianism and tolerance for ambiguity), as well as the FFM trait of agreeableness, relate to attitudes toward diversity, whereas self-esteem and openness to experience do not. In general, the results of path analyses support the regression results, although significance levels tend to be lower for the path model than for the regression model. This study highlights the importance of agreeableness for jobs where attitudes toward others impact performance.
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The authors examined the influence of participation in formal campus diversity experiences (e.g., courses and workshops) and interracial friendships on 2 specific democratic racial beliefs among a racially diverse sample of freshmen (N = 589). Using separate path analyses for each outcome, the authors examined the effects of diversity experiences and friendships on universal diverse orientation (UDO) and color-blind racial ideology over the course of an academic year. While controlling for sex and entrance attitudes, the authors found support across racial groups for models predicting UDO and racial color-blindness. Furthermore, participation in formal diversity experiences and interracial friendships mediated a number of the associations. The authors also tested 2 causal mediation models examining the influence of 1 racial belief at entrance on the other racial belief at follow-up (e.g., UDO at entrance on racial color-blindness at follow-up) and found that the model predicting color-blind racial ideology provided an adequate fit to the data for White, Black, and Latino/a students; participation in formal diversity experiences mediated this association among White students. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this investigation was to develop a conceptually grounded scale to assess cognitive aspects of color-blind racial attitudes. Five studies on the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) with over 1,100 observations provide initial reliability and validity data. Specifically, results from an exploratory factor analysis suggest a 3-factor solution: Unawareness of Racial Privilege, Institutional Discrimination, and Blatant Racial Issues. A confirmatory factor analysis suggests that the 3-factor model is a good fit of the data and is the best of the competing models. The CoBRAS was positively related to other indexes of racial attitudes as well as 2 measures of belief in a just world, indicating that greater endorsement of color-blind racial attitudes was related to greater levels of racial prejudice and a belief that society is just and fair. Self-reported CoBRAS attitudes were sensitive to diversity training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study examined whether purpose in life was associated with myocardial infarction among a sample of older adults with coronary heart disease after adjusting for relevant sociodemographic, behavioral, biological, and psychological factors. Prospective data from the Health and Retirement Study-a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50-were used. Analyses were conducted on the subset of 1,546 individuals who had coronary heart disease at baseline. Greater baseline purpose in life was associated with lower odds of having a myocardial infarction during the 2-year follow-up period. On a six-point purpose in life measure, each unit increase was associated with a multivariate-adjusted odds ratio of 0.73 for myocardial infarction (95% CI, 0.57-0.93, P = .01). The association remained significant after controlling for coronary heart disease severity, self-rated health, and a comprehensive set of possible confounds. Higher purpose in life may play an important role in protecting against myocardial infarction among older American adults with coronary heart disease.
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In many Western countries, the proportion of the population that is White will drop below 50% within the next century. Two experiments examined how anticipation of these future ethnic demographics affects current intergroup processes. In Study 1, White Americans who viewed actual demographic projections for a time when Whites are no longer a numerical majority felt more angry toward and fearful of ethnic minorities than Whites who did not view future projections. Whites who viewed the future projections also felt more sympathy for their ingroup than Whites in the control condition. In Study 2, the authors replicated the effects for intergroup emotions with a sample of White Canadians. White Canadians who thought about a future in which Whites were a numerical minority appraised the ingroup as more threatened, which mediated the effect of condition on intergroup emotions. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for race relations in increasingly diverse societies.
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Multiculturalism, or the belief that racial and ethnic differences should be acknowledged and appreciated, has been met with both positive reactions (e.g., decreased prejudice) and negative reactions (e.g., perceptions of threat) from dominant group members. The present research proposes that multiculturalism can either positively or negatively influence White Americans' intergroup attitudes depending on their degree of ethnic identification. In Studies 1 and 2, White Americans primed with multiculturalism exhibited higher social dominance orientation (Study 1) and greater prejudice (Study 2), especially when they identified strongly with their ethnicity. In Study 3, perceptions of threat to group values were found to mediate the relation between multiculturalism, ethnic identification, and prejudice among White Americans. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for threat perceptions, ethnic identification, and conceptions of diversity.
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This article examines which racial groups are associated with the concept of diversity. Results indicate that regardless of perceivers' racial in-group, minorities (Asians, Blacks, and Latinos) tend to be more associated with diversity than do Whites. In addition, members of minority racial groups were found to associate their respective in-groups more strongly with the concept of diversity relative to minority out-groups. Consequences for addressing issues of racial equity and representation through the pursuit of diversity are discussed.
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This analysis of variations in the level of generalized social trust (defined here as the belief that others will not deliberately or knowingly do us harm, if they can avoid it, and will look after our interests, if this is possible) in 60 nations of the world shows that trust is an integral part of a tight syndrome of social, political and economic conditions. High trust countries are characterized by ethnic homogeneity, Protestant religious traditions, good government, wealth (gross domestic product per capita), and income equality. This combination is most marked in the high trust Nordic countries but the same general pattern is found in the remaining 55 countries, albeit in a weaker form. Rural societies have comparatively low levels of generalized trust but large-scale urban societies do not. Cause and effect relations are impossible to specify exactly but ethnic homogeneity and Protestant traditions seem to have a direct impact on trust, and an indirect one through their consequences for good government, wealth and income equality. The importance of ethnic homogeneity also suggests that the difference between particularized and generalized trust may be one of degree rather than kind.
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A 2-year follow-up of a randomized field experiment previously reported in Science is presented. A subtle intervention to lessen minority students' psychological threat related to being negatively stereotyped in school was tested in an experiment conducted three times with three independent cohorts (N = 133, 149, and 134). The intervention, a series of brief but structured writing assignments focusing students on a self-affirming value, reduced the racial achievement gap. Over 2 years, the grade point average (GPA) of African Americans was, on average, raised by 0.24 grade points. Low-achieving African Americans were particularly benefited. Their GPA improved, on average, 0.41 points, and their rate of remediation or grade repetition was less (5% versus 18%). Additionally, treated students' self-perceptions showed long-term benefits. Findings suggest that because initial psychological states and performance determine later outcomes by providing a baseline and initial trajectory for a recursive process, apparently small but early alterations in trajectory can have long-term effects. Implications for psychological theory and educational practice are discussed.
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A widely researched panacea for reducing intergroup prejudice is the contact hypothesis. However, few longitudinal studies can shed light on the direction of causal processes: from contact to prejudice reduction (contact effects) or from prejudice to contact reduction (prejudice effects). The authors conducted a longitudinal field survey in Germany, Belgium, and England with school students. The sample comprised members of both ethnic minorities (n = 512) and ethnic majorities (n = 1,143). Path analyses yielded both lagged contact effects and prejudice effects: Contact reduced prejudice, but prejudice also reduced contact. Furthermore, contact effects were negligible for minority members. These effects were obtained for 2 indicators of prejudice: negative intergroup emotions and desire for social distance. For both majority and minority members, contact effects on negative emotions were stronger when outgroup contacts were perceived as being typical of their group. Contact effects were also mediated by intergroup anxiety. This mediating mechanism was impaired for minority members because of a weakened effect of anxiety on desire for social distance. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
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A theoretical model of psychological well-being that encompasses 6 distinct dimensions of wellness (Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, Personal Growth, Positive Relations with Others, Purpose in Life, Self-Acceptance) was tested with data from a nationally representative sample of adults (N = 1,108), aged 25 and older, who participated in telephone interviews. Confirmatory factor analyses provided support for the proposed 6-factor model, with a single second-order super factor. The model was superior in fit over single-factor and other artifactual models. Age and sex differences on the various well-being dimensions replicated prior findings. Comparisons with other frequently used indicators (positive and negative affect, life satisfaction) demonstrated that the latter neglect key aspects of positive functioning emphasized in theories of health and well-being.
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Six studies examined the role of positive affect (PA) in the experience of meaning in life (MIL). Study 1 showed strong relations between measures of mood, goal appraisals, and MIL. In multivariate analyses, PA was a stronger predictor of MIL than goal appraisals. In Study 2, the most consistent predictor of the experience of meaning in a day was the PA experienced that day. Later, global MIL was predicted by average daily PA, rather than average daily MIL. Study 3 demonstrated no prospective relations between measures of MIL and PA over 2 years. In Study 4, priming positive mood concepts enhanced MIL. In Study 5, manipulated positive mood enhanced ratings of MIL for those who were not given an attributional cue for their moods. In Study 6, PA was associated with a high level of distinction between meaningful and meaningless activities. Results indicate that positive moods may predispose individuals to feel that life is meaningful. In addition, positive moods may increase sensitivity to the meaning-relevance of a situation.
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The present article presents a meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. With 713 independent samples from 515 studies, the meta-analysis finds that intergroup contact typically reduces intergroup prejudice. Multiple tests indicate that this finding appears not to result from either participant selection or publication biases, and the more rigorous studies yield larger mean effects. These contact effects typically generalize to the entire outgroup, and they emerge across a broad range of outgroup targets and contact settings. Similar patterns also emerge for samples with racial or ethnic targets and samples with other targets. This result suggests that contact theory, devised originally for racial and ethnic encounters, can be extended to other groups. A global indicator of Allport's optimal contact conditions demonstrates that contact under these conditions typically leads to even greater reduction in prejudice. Closer examination demonstrates that these conditions are best conceptualized as an interrelated bundle rather than as independent factors. Further, the meta-analytic findings indicate that these conditions are not essential for prejudice reduction. Hence, future work should focus on negative factors that prevent intergroup contact from diminishing prejudice as well as the development of a more comprehensive theory of intergroup contact.
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The Mini-IPIP, a 20-item short form of the 50-item International Personality Item Pool-Five-Factor Model measure (Goldberg, 1999), was developed and validated across five studies. The Mini-IPIP scales, with four items per Big Five trait, had consistent and acceptable internal consistencies across five studies (= at or well above .60), similar coverage of facets as other broad Big Five measures (Study 2), and test-retest correlations that were quite similar to the parent measure across intervals of a few weeks (Study 4) and several months (Study 5). Moreover, the Mini-IPIP scales showed a comparable pattern of convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity (Studies 2-5) with other Big Five measures. Collectively, these results indicate that the Mini-IPIP is a psychometrically acceptable and practically useful short measure of the Big Five factors of personality.
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As the body of evidence linking disparities in the health of urban residents to disparate social, economic and environmental contexts grows, efforts to delineate the pathways through which broader social and economic inequalities influence health have burgeoned. One hypothesized pathway connects economic and racial and ethnic inequalities to differentials in stress associated with social and physical environments, with subsequent implications for health. Drawing on data from Detroit, Michigan, we examined contributions of neighborhood-level characteristics (e.g., poverty rate, racial and ethnic composition, residential stability) and individual-level characteristics (e.g., age, gender) to perceived social and physical environmental stress. We found that neighborhood percent African American was positively associated with perceptions of both social and physical environmental stress; neighborhood percent poverty and percent Latino were positively associated with perceived physical environmental stress; and neighborhood residential stability was negatively associated with perceived social environmental stress. At the individual level, whites perceived higher levels of both social and physical environmental stress compared to African American residents of the same block groups, after accounting for other variables included in the models. Our findings suggest the importance of understanding and addressing contributions of neighborhood structural characteristics to perceptions of neighborhood stress. The consistency of the finding that neighborhood racial composition and individual-level race influence perceptions of both social and physical environments suggests the continuing importance of understanding the role played by structural conditions and by personal and collective histories that vary systematically by race and ethnicity within the United States.
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In 3 studies the authors examined the factor structure of the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale (M-GUDS) and developed a short form of the scale, the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short (M-GUDS-S).
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This article reports on a qualitative study of youth interviews representing different types of other-oriented purpose. In order to better understand youth contribution, differences in the directness of responses to community needs were examined in youth who demonstrated other-oriented purpose. Implicit theories about the world and other people were investigated as potential determinants of these different types. First, results supported a relation between incremental world theories and indirect-response other-oriented purposes. Second, results showed that participants with direct-response other-oriented purposes displayed evidence of either entity or incremental theories. Agency and compassion are suggested as explanations for why implicit theories functioned differently between the identified types of other-oriented purpose.
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In this article, the author describes a new theoretical perspective on positive emotions and situates this new perspective within the emerging field of positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory posits that experiences of positive emotions broaden people's momentary thought-action repertoires, which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources. Preliminary empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory is reviewed, and open empirical questions that remain to be tested are identified. The theory and findings suggest that the capacity to experience positive emotions may be a fundamental human strength central to the study of human flourishing.
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Recent Census Bureau projections indicate that racial/ethnic minorities will comprise over 50% of the U.S. population by 2042, effectively creating a so-called "majority-minority" nation. Across four experiments, we explore how presenting information about these changing racial demographics influences White Americans' racial attitudes. Results reveal that exposure to the changing demographics evokes the expression of greater explicit and implicit racial bias. Specifically, Whites exposed to the racial demographic shift information preferred interactions/settings with their own ethnic group over minority ethnic groups; expressed more negative attitudes toward Latinos, Blacks, and Asian Americans; and expressed more automatic pro-White/anti-minority bias. Perceived threat to Whites' societal status mediated the effects of the racial shift information on explicit racial attitudes. These results suggest that rather than ushering in a more tolerant future, the increasing diversity of the nation may instead yield intergroup hostility. Implications for intergroup relations and media framing of the racial shift are discussed.
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Over the past three decades, as the Democratic party in the South has come to depend more heavily on black voters for its success, it has experienced a decline among white adherents. Power theory views relationships between groups as a function of their competitive positions in political, economic, and social arenas. In contexts where the threat posed by a minority group is high, the dominant group's response is predicted to be more hostile than in contexts where that threat is low. A pooled time series analysis of voter registration data for Louisiana parishes for 1975–90 provides support for the operation of the threat mechanism. Higher black concentrations are associated with declines in the percentage of white registered voters who are Democrats and an increase in the percentage who are Republicans. Consistent with the expectations of power theory, this relationship is conditioned by the social status of the parish.
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Many individuals feel socially isolated and distressed in ethnically diverse settings. Purpose in life may buffer this form of distress by fostering one's sense of having a meaningful direction, which may also be of significance to others. In two experience-sampling studies with ethnically diverse participants, we examined associations between the ethnic composition of urban trains and passenger distress, and tested purpose as a moderator of these relationships. Study 1 showed that participants of all ethnic backgrounds reported greater negative mood when the percentage of ethnic out-group members aboard their train increased. However, individual differences in purpose significantly attenuated this effect. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings experimentally by showing that relative to a control condition, briefly writing about purpose prior to boarding trains also diminished the impact of ethnic composition on negative mood. The discussion addresses strategies for promoting positive adjustment in our increasingly diverse society.
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The inter-group contact hypothesis states that intera ctions between individuals belonging to different groups will influence the attitudes and behavior between members of these different groups. The two dominant measures of inter-group contact are context (i.e., size of a minority group within a specified geographic area) and individual behavior (i.e., personal contact between members of the majority and minority groups). The contextual and behavioral measures of contact produce divergent finings. The contextual contact literature finds that whites residing in areas with high concentrations of minority populations have significantly more negative attitudes toward minorities and minority-based public policies than whites residing in areas with low concentrations of minority poplations. The behavioral contact literature finds that inter-group contacing among majority and minority populations significantly reduces preudicial attitudes and opinions about minorities and minority-based policies. In this article we examine both contextual and behavioral meaures of the contact hypothesis as they influence white attitudes toward immigrant populations (i.e., Hispanics) and white policy positions toward immigration policies. We offer and test an explanation for the lierature's divergent findings.
Article
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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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
In 2 studies, the Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) Scale, a single-item, pictorial measure of closeness, demonstrated alternate-form and test–retest reliability; convergent validity with the Relationship Closeness Inventory (E. Berscheid et al, 1989), the R. J. Sternberg (1988) Intimacy Scale, and other measures; discriminant validity; minimal social desirability correlations; and predictive validity for whether romantic relationships were intact 3 mo later. Also identified and cross-validated were (1) a 2-factor closeness model (Feeling Close and Behaving Close) and (2) longevity–closeness correlations that were small for women vs moderately positive for men. Five supplementary studies showed convergent and construct validity with marital satisfaction and commitment and with a reaction-time (RT)-based cognitive measure of closeness in married couples; and with intimacy and attraction measures in stranger dyads following laboratory closeness-generating tasks. In 3 final studies most Ss interpreted IOS Scale diagrams as depicting interconnectedness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Universal-diverse orientation was defined as an attitude of awareness and acceptance of both the similarities and differences that exist among people. A 45-item scale developed to measure the construct was administered to 4 separate samples ( ns =  93, 111, 153, and 135). Internal consistency and retest reliability for the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale (M-GUDS) ranged from .89 to .95. The M-GUDS significantly correlated in theoretically predicted ways with measures of racial identity, empathy, healthy narcissism, feminism, androgyny, homophobia, and dogmatism (the last 2 correlations were negative). The M-GUDS displayed discriminant validity by failing to correlated with Scholastic Achievement Test Verbal Scores, although mixed results were obtained with social desirability. In summary, the data suggest considerable reliability and initial construct validity for the M-GUDS. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Purpose-a cognitive process that defines life goals and provides personal meaning-may help explain disparate empirical social science findings. Devoting effort and making progress toward life goals provides a significant, renewable source of engagement and meaning. Purpose offers a testable, causal system that synthesizes outcomes including life expectancy, satisfaction, and mental and physical health. These outcomes may be explained best by considering the motivation of the individual-a motivation that comes from having a purpose. We provide a detailed definition with specific hypotheses derived from a synthesis of relevant findings from social, behavioral, biological, and cognitive literatures. To illustrate the uniqueness of the purpose model, we compared purpose with competing contemporary models that offer similar predictions. Addressing the structural features unique to purpose opens opportunities to build upon existing causal models of "how and why" health and well-being develop and change over time.
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of self-affirmation theory. Self-affirmation theory asserts that the overall goal of the self-system is to protect an image of its self-integrity, of its moral and adaptive adequacy. When this image of self-integrity is threatened, people respond in such a way as to restore self-worth. The chapter illustrates how self-affirmation affects not only people's cognitive responses to threatening information and events, but also their physiological adaptations and actual behavior. It examines the ways in which self-affirmations reduce threats to the self at the collective level, such as when people confront threatening information about their groups. It reviews factors that qualify or limit the effectiveness of self-affirmations, including situations where affirmations backfire, and lead to greater defensiveness and discrimination. The chapter discusses the connection of self-affirmations theory to other motivational theories of self-defense and reviews relevant theoretical and empirical advances. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of self-affirmations theory for interpersonal relationships and coping.
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Meaning in life has long been recognized as a central dilemma of human life. In this article, we review some of the challenges of studying meaning in life from the perspective of social psychology. We draw on the diary of Etty Hillesum, a young woman who was killed in Auschwitz, to argue for the relevance of current empirical approaches to meaning in life. We review evidence suggesting that meaning in life is an important variable in the psychology of human functioning while also acknowledging that there is no consensus definition for the construct. Drawing on Hillesum's diary and our research, we argue for the importance of considering meaning in life as the outcome of a subjective judgment process. We then review research showing the strong relationship between positive mood and meaning in life and suggest that such a relationship is born out in the phenomenology of meaning in life.
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This study investigated cross-level mediational and moderational community and family influences on adolescent depressive symptoms. Using multilevel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we predicted that structural community characteristics such as community poverty and ethnic heterogeneity would influence community social resources, which in turn would influence adolescent depressive symptoms. We further predicted that community social resources would influence adolescent depressive symptoms through family social resources. Findings also suggested that the influence of the parent-child relationship on adolescent depressive symptoms is weaker in more adverse communities than in less adverse communities. The findings underscore the importance of placing family process models within the community context when adolescent outcomes are investigated.
Article
Ethnic diversity is increasing in most advanced countries, driven mostly by sharp increases in immigration. In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits. In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one's own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military, religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration.
Article
Attitudes research has shown that evaluations assessed directly (explicit attitudes) and indirectly (implicit attitudes) can diverge for many reasons. However, only recently has work begun to examine the phenomenology of experiencing discrepant explicit and implicit attitudes, and a number of important questions remain unanswered. What are the consequences of explicit–implicit attitude discrepancies on information processing? What psychological states accompany these discrepancies, and can they account for behavior? In two experiments, the current work examined whether dissonance-related discomfort results from discrepant explicit and implicit attitudes and considered its role in directing subsequent information processing. Dissonance and additional information processing were observed in experimental conditions where explicit and implicit attitudes diverged (and increased dissonance-related discomfort accounted for greater information processing; Experiment 1), but they were eliminated by a manipulation that reduced dissonance (i.e., self-affirmation; Experiment 2). The role of cognitive dissonance in explicit–implicit attitude inconsistencies and information processing is discussed.
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This study provides a response to Springer and Hauser’s claim that the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being do not comprise six dimensions. We show that their analyses support the theory-guided six-factor model, although their interpretations of the data reveal a lack of understanding of the construct-oriented approach to personality assessment. We also review evidence from five categories of studies (i.e., factorial validity, psychological correlates, sociodemographic correlates, biological correlates, and intervention studies) that document the distinctiveness of the six dimensions of well-being, including among subscales that are highly correlated. We conclude with an examination of the methodological corrections (negative items, adjacent items, and redundant items) employed by Springer and Hauser, finding all to be problematic, either in terms of scientific rationale or method of implementation, or both. Correlations among latent constructs resulting from these analyses are thus highly questionable.
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The benefits of understanding and pursuing one's purposes in life are well documented. However, few studies have addressed potential interventions for enhancing purpose. This article presents the results of an empirical investigation testing whether reflecting on and discussing one's core values, life goals, and purposes in life has benefits for later purpose, as well as later life satisfaction. The study involved a pretest/posttest experimental design with 102 college students, with posttest measures administered nine months later. Results showed that those who engaged in the guided discussion of their values, life goals, and purpose (compared to those who did not) benefited in terms of their goal directedness and life satisfaction and that the benefits for life satisfaction were partially attributable to changes in goal directedness. The article concludes by highlighting implications for practitioners of all kinds, including parents, with recommendations for implementing the purpose discussion in a variety of youth settings.
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The analysis of contact between groups must proceed from an uncomfortable realization. Notwithstanding its formal abolition in many societies, segregation remains pervasive as an informal mechanism for ordering and defining social relations. Social psychologists' tendency to investigate contact under 'optimal' conditions may obscure this fact. This article discusses an observational study that attempted to chart some varieties of informal segregation on an 'open' beach in post-apartheid South Africa. The study used a novel methodology to plot the ecology of racial distribution within this public setting over time. The analysis, which included measures of dissimilarity (D) and exposure (P), indicated that processes of segregation operated in various ways to limit the opportunities for racial contact. Follow-up interviews conducted with 'white' holiday-makers suggested that such processes embodied shared assumptions about the 'proper' socio-spatial organization of race relations. Some implications for research on the contact hypothesis are discussed.
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The aim of this paper is to present the new theory called “inductive game theory”. A paper, published by one of the present authors with A. Matsui, discussed some part of inductive game theory in a specific game. Here, we will give a more developed discourse of the theory. The paper is written to show one entire picture of the theory: From individual raw experiences, short-term memories to long-term memories, inductive derivation of individual views, classification of such views, decision making or modification of behavior based on a view, and repercussion from the modified play in the objective game. We focus on some clear-cut cases, forgetting a lot of possible variants, but will still give a lot of results. In order to show one possible discourse as a whole, we will ask the question of how Nash equilibrium is emerging from the viewpoint of inductive game theory, and will give one answer.