Article

Origins of Purpose in Life: Refining our Understanding of a Life Well Lived

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Abstract

Purpose can be characterized as a central, self-organizing life aim. Central in that when present, purpose is a predominant theme of a person’s identity. Self-organizing in that it provides a framework for systematic behavior patterns in everyday life. As a life aim, a purpose generates continual goals and targets for efforts to be devoted. A purpose provides a bedrock foundation that allows a person to be more resilient to obstacles, stress, and strain. In this paper, we outline a theoretical model of purpose development. Besides outlining various essential ingredients to creating a purpose in life, we describe three broad pathways. The first process is proactive involving effort over time and only resulting in a purpose after gradual refinement and clarification. The second process is reactive involving a transformative life event where a purpose arises and adds clarity to the person's life. The third process is social learning - involving the formation of purpose through observation, imitation, and modeling. Our aim is to stimulate more research on this higher-level construct in the architecture of personality.

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... Whereas self-efficacy requires the belief in abilities related to specific tasks, for teaching sustainability to endure, something more permanent is also required, an SOP (Hong, 2012). A person's SOP is a fundamental theme of personal identity and provides a framework for one's life (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009). Additionally, having a strong SOP is linked to feelings of satisfaction, motivation, and a need to persevere toward long-term goals (Cartwright and Holmes, 2006). ...
... An individual's SOP is a fundamental, self-organizing life objective essential to personal identity, and offers a framework for organized behavior patterns in one's life (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009). SOP is linked to feelings of satisfaction, motivation, and a need to persist toward long-term goals (Cartwright and Holmes, 2006). ...
... In their previous work and adding support for SOP's impact, Ellison and Woods (2019a) discovered that teachers working in high-poverty schools' capacity for resilience was dependent upon their perceived SOP. Possessing a robust SOP facilitates teachers' ability to endure challenges and understand that there is a greater mission they are pursuing (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009). ...
Article
Physical education teachers with a strong sense of purpose are more resilient and maintain high-level performance over time. Therefore, this longitudinal, mixed-methods exploratory case study describes how two teachers’ (Gary and Wayne) sense of purpose in life and well-being has influenced their intent to remain teaching in high-poverty schools. This inquiry followed the two participants over four consecutive school years (2015–2019) and included eight formal interviews with Gary and Wayne, two administrations of the Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scale questionnaire, and one administration of the Teaching Sustainability Questionnaire over the four-year project. Gary’s and Wayne’s strong purpose in life contained central values that led to their intention to remain teaching in their high-poverty school context. This strong sense of purpose stemmed from their perceived internalized and externalized support associated with life experiences, familial influence, and the school environments where they worked. Gary’s and Wayne’s sense of purpose appeared to have a direct effect on their intention to remain teaching in the high-poverty schools where they were employed. Identifying a teacher’s sense of purpose and the extent to which it aligns with a specific school district’s mission/vision may be an important factor in recruiting and retaining teachers in high-poverty environments.
... Their results indicated that positive feedback was important in the early stages of purpose formation, but later on young people remained committed when they found what they were doing to be personally meaningful and when they concluded that they were particularly well-suited to the work. Kashdan and McKnight (2009) also proposed a theoretical model for developing a general purpose (i.e., a purpose that is either beyond-the-self or self-oriented) with the following three potential developmental processes, each centered on different kinds of factors: the first is proactive development, which is characterized by the formation of interests through curious exploration; the second is reactive development, which involves a transformative life event that redirects a person's focus; the third is social learning development, which involves the formation of purpose through observation, imitation, and modeling. Furthermore, people can develop a purpose through all or a combination of these three developmental pathways. ...
... Generally, our findings on the pathways to purpose validated some propositions of the existing models, but further refine and extend them by providing qualitative details in a Chinese cultural context. Specifically, similar with the model of Kashdan and McKnight (2009) proposed, proactive development characterized by self-exploration is an important pathway to purpose. Proactively engaged individuals usually report having more agency and openness to experience, as well as often going through a laborious process including trial-anderror. ...
... Previous researchers have proposed that life transition is an important pathway to purpose Malin et al., 2013). For example, Kashdan and McKnight (2009) has emphasized stressful events could lead an individual to immediately reorganize his or her priorities and interests in life. In this study, we found this was not limited to negative events, but major positive life events also could lead a person to quickly re-evaluate his or her priorities. ...
Article
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Understanding how youth develop a purpose in life could provide guidance for cultivating a positive purpose. This study explored this topic in a Chinese cultural context using in-depth interviews of 41 participants. Furthermore, we identified factors that are particularly important to a beyond-the-self purpose by comparing this with a self-oriented purpose. The findings revealed three pathways to purpose: proactive processes, involving active effort characterized by self-exploration and deepened self-knowledge; transformative processes, characterized by negative or positive major transformative life events; and reactive processes, involving the formation of purpose through external cultural and personal influences. Additionally, the findings indicate that compassion, gratitude, and family support are of particular importance for the development of a beyond-the-self purpose. These findings extend the existing theories and findings of purpose development; consequently, could help develop purpose-fostering interventions that aim to cultivate a positive purpose among youth.
... A life-time purpose requires gradual refinement and a maturity that can be differentiated by social learning through observation and then modelling of a community problem. Kashdan and McKnight (2009). ...
... Our definition of purpose provides an entry point to begin creating assessment devices to study purpose in life more directly. Additional details of our conceptual model of purpose are outlined elsewhere (McKnight and Kashdan, 2009). The available measurement tools proposed for aligning the life-purposefulness can help to be used as constructs for a program that build or rehabilitate the meaning of life and setting the purpose of life for youth. ...
Article
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Dwelling on youth Life-Purposefulness, this paper explores how to enhance youth's readiness for future economies. The detailed case study examines how life-purposefulness could be built and facilitated in different youths' status, i.e. graduating youth, graduated, job-seekers, unemployed and youth that are not happy with their achievements, or current status. The research questions how the technique followed by the ‗International Inspiration Economy Project (IIEP) youth summer program' contributes to the capacity of youth participants' lifetime inspiration and legacy. The two years' program experience is evaluated in the way they are setup. The content analysis from literature is reflected in the IIEP program delivery, including the setup of the five phases of the life-purposefulness program conducted. A framework that targets to enhance youth's capacity to leave a differentiated outcome and minimise their zero-status is proposed to cover the literature gap. The researcher argues that the involvement of youth in socioeconomic projects during their search for a purpose would create a differentiation in their lifetime contribution. The implications for the program and its framework, along with the paper limitations and perspectives for future empirical research, is suggested. Keyword: life-purposefulness, purpose in life, meaning of life, youth economy, youth life purposes 2. Introduction This paper focuses on exploring the means for establishing life-purposefulness through extensive literature review. The literature covers the different definitions of life-purposefulness and how to measure it. The review shows the psychology of life-purposefulness development and the importance of being curious. Models of life purposefulness and its reactive development social learning are covered. The philosophy of life purposefulness and how to achieve the performance goals go in hand is linked to the ego involvement when we build intrinsic motivation. Buheji (2019a).
... As an example, the increased time spent at home could present individuals with newly discovered opportunities to discover interests [29]. The purpose literature highlights that challenging experiences can be transformed into opportunities [30,31]. Thus, people might also be able to transform this global adversity into purpose, in considered values and perceived meaningfulness [29]. ...
... People are capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing themselves for the better if necessary [5]. In general, a committed sense of purpose is regarded as an important fuel to preserve when faced with hardship [30,31], which might also make people feel the countless challenges posed by COVID-19 more tolerable and meaningful [29]. ...
Article
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We assessed psychotherapists’ and patients’ ratings of their subjective perception of meaning related to different areas of life before the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a quantitative cross-sectional study, Austrian psychotherapists (N = 222) were recruited by e-mail, who in turn recruited their patients (N = 139). Therapists and patients were asked to rate the meaning of different areas of life before as well as during the COVID-19 crisis. The psychotherapists showed an overall higher rating of the importance of areas of life compared to their patients (p < 0.001). The rating of the importance of the domains of living was differently affected by the COVID-19 situation (p < 0.001). While the meaning of physical and mental health during COVID-19 was rated higher than before, the opposite was observed for work (p < 0.001). No differences were found for relationships and friends, as well as for hobbies. As no interactions between perspective (therapists vs. patients), area of life, and time point (before vs. during COVID-19) were observed, it can be concluded that the COVID-19 situation changed the subjective attribution of meaning concerning different aspects of life similarly in therapists as well as patients. While mental and physical health gained subjective importance, the opposite was observed for work.
... When negotiating difficult situations filled with uncertainty, a sense of meaning can result in greater clarity (George & Park, 2016). In fact, if people are able to view hardship as an opportunity to reflect, new realisations could follow, which may direct their gaining a sense of purpose in life (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). People who experience greater meaning are more positively orientated towards others and, in turn, are perceived as interpersonally appealing (Folker et al., 2021). ...
... This might be especially valuable for unemployed young adults, who would benefit from establishing professional networks and impress potential employers. People with more meaning also have greater commitment to life goals, and utilise resources in a manner to achieve such goals, thereby enhancing self-determination (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). ...
Article
Youth unemployment is a continuing concern in South Africa, and, in the context of growing economic volatility, an increasing number of young adult graduates will find themselves without work. Given the negative effect of unemployment on psychological well-being, research is required to enhance insight into how unemployed graduates can negotiate times of unemployment. Although multiple studies have investigated the influence of unemployment on hedonic well-being, less research is available on how eudaimonic well-being is impacted by unemployment. Significance is a component of meaning, and refers to a sense of mattering in one’s social context. The aim of the current study was to explore how young adult graduates experience a sense of significance during unemployment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain insights into participants’ career narrative, which were then analysed to find meaning plots that relate to significance. The results showed that threads of significance are present throughout the participant’s career narratives, and that the lack of significance during unemployment resulted in great distress, but also a need to restore significance. The value of the study lies in uncovering significance as an important resource during unemployment, which could be a focal point to address in psychological interventions.
... Purpose in life refers to "a central, self-organizing life aim that organizes and stimulates goals, manages behaviors, and provides a sense of meaning" (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009, p. 304). According to Kashdan and McKnight (2009), it is central in that it has to do with a person's identity, and it is self-organizing in that it provides a framework for systematic behavior in daily life. Purpose in life may motivate people to plan and make efforts to achieve a specific goal, and it helps them to make decisions and perform specific behaviors to proceed in life (Hill et al., 2016;. ...
... Purpose in life involves motivation (Bronk et al., 2010) and may have implications for emerging adults in developing confidence. For instance, emerging adults may build their confidence when they actively search for and develop a purpose in life after they have learnt to do so from the behavior of others (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009). Formulating short-term and long-term goals in life, for instance, may encourage emerging adults to be prospective and future oriented, and goals could include securing decent jobs, professional success and having families. ...
Article
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A substantial body of evidence supports Lerner and colleagues’ 5Cs model of positive youth development (PYD) in the United States (U.S.). Nonetheless, it remains unclear whether the 5Cs can be used to identify positive development in the under-researched Asian contexts, such as Malaysia. Thus, this study examined the 5Cs of PYD (competence, confidence, character, connection, and caring) and their importance to purpose in life, hope, and well-being in a sample of emerging adult undergraduate university students in Malaysia. Data were collected from 400 participants from 15 Malaysian universities (132 males, 268 females; ages ranged from 18 to 26 years old, M = 22). A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that two of the 5Cs of PYD (confidence and connection) as well as hope were important to explaining variation in well-being. The findings imply that there are strong links between PYD, especially confidence and connection, and well-being, while purpose in life and hope were indirectly related to the 2Cs (confidence and connection) of PYD and well-being. Therefore, mental health professionals are encouraged to review and redefine their treatment design to include confidence, connection, purpose in life and hope when working with Malaysian emerging adult university students.
... Another article also mentions that the purpose of life is something that arises not from yourself. Developing life goals begins with passing through various kinds of observations of others (Kashdan, 2009). He stressed that the discovery of life's goals is the result of observing other people's behavior and emotional reactions that occur. ...
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This research aims to describe and find out the correlation between loneliness and the psychological well-being of international students of the Darmasiswa program at Yogyakarta State University. This research uses descriptive quantitative methods and data sources are obtained based on instruments that are distributed to 20 research subjects the international students. The research data were collected with the UCLA Loneliness Scale and Psychological Well Being Scale instruments which were then analyzed using SPSS 22.0 with the Pearson Product Moment correlation test. The results showed that there was a very weak negative relationship (r=-0.152) between loneliness and the psychological well-being of Darmasiswa students at Yogyakarta State University. Most research subjects have low levels of loneliness and moderate psychological well-being. There are two dimensions of psychological well-being that have the highest relationship with loneliness, namely environmental mastery (-0,338) and positive relationships with others (-0,299).
... The ongoing relationship built between the mentor and the mentees could be an invaluable source of motivation and inspiration as to what one could pursue in life. Kashdan and McKnight (2009) suggest that social learning through observation, imitation and modelling helps the formation of purpose in adolescents. In view of this, teachers and career guidance practitioners can organize pastoral care and guidance programmes that involve successful alumni, outstanding seniors in the school and even celebrities to guide and inspire younger students. ...
Article
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A student’s ‘meaning in life’ and his/her connectedness to school, friends and family are believed to be factors that influence the development of life skills. Teachers could be aware of these factors in their endeavours to foster ‘whole-person development’ in their students. In this small-scale study, twelve secondary school teachers participated in three focus groups and reported their perceptions of students’ meaning in life, connectedness and life skills. In general, they believed that having a definite goal means students have found preliminarily the meaning in life and the source of motivation. The teachers also observed that high achievers tend to set goals for future achievement, whereas the goals and aspirations of low achievers are much more short-term. Teachers suggested that development of students’ connectedness and life skills can be facilitated by the opportunity to converse with teachers, and the creation of a caring culture in schools that makes students feel valued. Conversely, parental expectations and strong academic orientation of the school may restrict students’ personal goal-setting. The findings have practical implications for teachers, counselling professionals and other support staff in schools because specific guidance activities can be devised to strengthen students’ connectedness, meaning in life, and life skills.
... The narratives of finding meanings or purposes in the greater good and charitable works, directed toward the universal understanding of meaning in life (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). Finding a broader purpose or meaning in life often enhances an individual's self-esteem, as self-esteem derives from the perceived importance of oneself in a socio-cultural façade (Thoits, 2011). ...
Article
In India, sexuality has long been a silent battleground, which has led to the legal acceptance of non-heteronormative practices in recent years. Given the risk of facing difficulties and social discrimination, questions may arise on the consequences of revealing non-heteronormative gender identity and sexual orientation. Using data from a two-year qualitative immersive study on the queer individuals in India and extant theories on Concealed Stigmatized Identity and Minority Stress, we explore the dynamics of disclosure, or ‘Coming-out of the closet' and construct a narrative on their lived experiences of stress and coping associated with marginal gender identity. Thematic analysis reveals that informants elaborate, borrow, and adapt perceptions and experiences of denial and loss of agency as queer individuals. Disclosure and Coming-out help them to find the ‘safe others'. The findings indicate that this kinship and entitativity result in measurably higher well-being, happiness, and meaning in life. We conclude that rising above the minority stress can be the beginning of endless possibilities in different spheres of life for gender and sexual minorities. Participants’ narratives unpack the embodied and contextual stereotypes and taboos and the precarity of living with non-normative identities. The paper makes a compelling argument that coping with gender marginalization, vulnerability, and loss of dignity can be achieved through a sense of purpose and meaning. [ JUST ACCEPTED]
... As we will further refer to in this research note, the concept of Purpose, as analysed by Victor Frankl (1984), can be approached on an individual level. According to Kashdan and McKnight (2009), Purpose (on an individual level) is defined as a central goal disposition of an individual to self-organize life and a reflection of one's personal identity. For this, purpose provides a solid baseline that allows an individual to be more resilient to life challenges, stress and strain. ...
Preprint
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The concept of Purpose and its inclusion in the strategy and culture of companies has been gaining a lot of attention. Although the initial spike of interest in the theme of purpose was after 2008, as a direct response to the great recession, we have witnessed a major growth in the concept over the last five years. It is common these days to find articles arguing that purpose driven companies are making a difference in their communities and maybe even the world, and to see studies that show that purpose driven companies perform well in the market and that consumers patterns of behaviour are becoming more sustainable. Despite this increasing interest in the concept of Purpose from scholars and business professionals, several definitions are proposed for the subject without reaching a unifying concept. The concept of Purpose thus lacks clarity and this Research Note is an attempt to contribute to its conceptualization and implementation. It intends to bridge this gap by offering a comprehensive definition of what Purpose is, based on a set of five principles: 1) reason for existence, 2) decision-making guide, 3) unifying factor, 4) sustainable competitive advantage, 5) ecosystem approach. We also review the existing evidence on the value creation potential of adopting a purpose-driven strategies and propose a process framework to create a Purpose centric organization. To make the concept of purpose powerful, it is fundamental to make it real. We hope this RN proves to be a valuable resource for executives looking to better understand the concept of purpose and aiming to apply it at the core of their business strategy and organizational practice.
... Meaning-making is a different construct from resilience, but closely related to it. Resilience is a process of 'bouncing back' from difficult experiences and adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress (Joyce et al., 2018), and meaning-making in negative experiences has been found to be a coping skill and provides a foundation for resilience to high stressors (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009;King, Hicks, Krull, & Del Gaiso, 2006). In longitudinal studies, the sense of coherence has been found to be a significant predictor of resilience when facing stressful life situations (e.g., war victims). ...
Article
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There is a consensus among researchers about the link between low meaning in life and anxiety and depressive symptoms. One unanswered question is whether meaning‐making is a mediator of the change in anxiety and depression symptoms in participants with adjustment disorders during CBT treatment. The aims of this study were: a) to analyze whether there was meaning‐making during the application of the CBT; b) to analyze whether meaning‐making was a mediator of anxiety psychopathology; and c) to analyze whether meaning‐making was a mediator of depressive symptoms. The sample was composed of 115 patients who satisfied the full DSM‐5 criteria for adjustment disorder as their primary diagnosis and completed CBT treatment in a primary care mental health service: 74.78% women, n = 86, and 25.22% men, n= 29, with a mean age of 41.89 (SD = 10.39) years. The diagnosis was established using the SCID‐5, and participants filled out the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and Purpose in Life questionnaires. The therapists were clinical psychologists with experience in clinical assessment. A repeated‐measures ANOVA and two mediation analyses using the bootstrap method were performed. The results indicated that: a) There was meaning‐making during the CBT because the treated sample showed a statistically significant improvement in meaning in life; and b) meaning‐making during the CBT was a partial mediator between anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms before and after the treatment. The present study suggests that meaning in life could be an important variable in the psychopathology of adjustment disorders.
... On the other hand, several individuals understand what is most meaningful to them after reflecting upon major life events (Hill et al. 2014;Kashdan and McKnight 2009). This route, known as the reactive pathway, describes one of the primary routes by which one finds a purpose in life, with additional pathways being through proactive exploration of different options or social learning from mentors and prominent figures in life. ...
Article
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Previous research has demonstrated that coherent identity formation is promotive of purpose in life and positive well-being outcomes, such as lower depression and anxiety, and higher self-esteem. However, research is needed to understand how these associations operate concerning specific identities. The current study sought to examine whether sexual identity commitment, in-depth exploration, and reconsideration were predictive of life satisfaction , purpose in life, and pathways to purpose outcomes. A sample of 273 participants (age: M = 43.49, SD = 17.35) was recruited in Canada and the United States through an online survey, answering questionnaires addressing these variables. Results indicated that greater sexual identity commitment was associated with higher levels of purpose in life and that these associations held regardless of sexual identity. Moreover, greater purpose in life was associated with more life satisfaction irrespective of sexual identity as well. Lastly, pathways to purpose (e.g. reactive purpose development) was not different based on sexual identity. Implications are discussed concerning sexual minority health and future directions for qualitative investigations.
... The Important Positions of VIPs in Youth's Ecologies. The finding that VIPs provide support during key moments in youth's lives, when put in the context of previous research on the origins of purpose in life (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009), suggests that VIPs may be well-positioned to foster youth's exploration of purpose. For example, one study by Hill, Sumner, and Burrow (2014) found that, similar to the process of identity development during adolescence, purpose may develop as the result of an exploration process. ...
Chapter
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Having or developing a sense of purpose is an important component of positive adolescent development. However, there is limited empirical understanding of how youth purpose develops and what aspects of youth’s ecologies best support purpose development during adolescence. This chapter seeks to provide insight into how significant adults, both parents and non-parental adults, serve as ecological assets that may support purpose development for youth during adolescence. We begin by discussing how developmental and ecological theories can inform the broader literature on youth purpose. We then present findings from a study examining the development, characteristics, and influence of youth–adult relationships across multiple contexts and over key transition points across adolescence, focusing on the ways in which relationships with parents and other significant adults can play a key role in cultivating and nurturing purpose development during adolescence. We close by discussing implications for understanding effective ways of supporting purpose development during adolescence and the benefits of mixed methods research for those aims.
... Y en cuanto a los constructos que motivan el comportamiento adolescente, hoy se hace innegable la capacidad del adolescente para estructurar principios, definir metas, articular acciones a futuro y comprometerse en su consecución, como condiciones que le permite definirse, darse un lugar en el mundo y sentir un alto nivel de satisfacción y bienestar. El propósito de vida (Damon, 2008;Kashdan & Mcknight, 2009), la iniciativa personal (Larson, 2000), la satisfacción vital (Frisch, 2000), la automotivación (Hui & Tsang, 2012) son algunos constructos teóricos que han permitido llegar a esta conclusión. ...
Book
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Abordar la mente criminal y sus consecuencias es abordar de un tema de la "historia del pensamiento criminológico", el cual puede ser entendido como resultado de causas sociales, sean estas las diferencias de poder y de recursos financieros entre las personas, los comportamientos aprendidos fruto de las interacciones en los grupos sociales (humanos y animales), así como las características individuales asociadas al desarrollo, complicaciones en el transcurso de la gestación y factores genéticos. Delante de lo expuesto previamente, en el presente capítulo nos adentraremos en una de las más importantes contribuciones de la psicología y demás ciencias "Psi": La comprensión del funcionamiento de la mente criminal en personas que utilizan la manipulación y manifiestan ausencia de consideración hacia otros seres humanos, así como el uso del engaño y la manipulación.
... Y en cuanto a los constructos que motivan el comportamiento adolescente, hoy se hace innegable la capacidad del adolescente para estructurar principios, definir metas, articular acciones a futuro y comprometerse en su consecución, como condiciones que le permite definirse, darse un lugar en el mundo y sentir un alto nivel de satisfacción y bienestar. El propósito de vida (Damon, 2008;Kashdan & Mcknight, 2009), la iniciativa personal (Larson, 2000), la satisfacción vital (Frisch, 2000), la automotivación (Hui & Tsang, 2012) son algunos constructos teóricos que han permitido llegar a esta conclusión. ...
Chapter
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El presente libro aúna las contribuciones de diversas colaboraciones con el grupo de investigación MEB LAB (MIND, EMOTION, & BEHAVIOURAL RESEARCH LABORATORY). Este equipo se encuentra activamente implicado en el estudio de procesos cog-nitivos, tanto a nivel teórico como aplicado tratando de examinar la complejidad de la mente humana, la emoción y el comportamiento con un enfoque integrado. Los trabajos aquí presentados profundi-zan en las siguientes temáticas: (1) la mejora de las habilidades lin-güísticas en población de riesgo; (2) los efectos del uso de sustancias psicoactivas en el desarrollo infantil; (3) la mente criminal, el engaño y la manipulación; (4) la empatía en agresores de violencia contra la pareja; (5) testigos y testimonios en los MASS; (6) evaluación cognitiva por medio de Realidad Virtual; (7) evaluación cognitiva en ancianos; (8) la educación musical para favorecer la inteligencia espiritual; (9) la capacidad de agencia en adolescentes; y (10) virtudes humanas y psicoterapia. Las contribuciones son fruto de las experiencias llevadas a cabo en varias universidades provenientes de distintos países (España, Brasil y Colombia), mostrando una gran pluralidad cultural y lingüística que, sin duda, enriquecerá al lector en su comprensión del Comportamiento Humano.
... Thinking about meaning and purpose of life is an important factor to determine individual's happiness. A person who was pounder about meaning and purpose of life has less chance to being happy than a person who often or not thinking about it in Pakistan and India and china People who often think about the meaning and purpose of life would be more satisfied with life (Duff and Ivlevs, 2012;Haller and Hadler, 2006;Kashdan and McKnight 2009). ...
... The increased awareness of the benefits of purpose has created significant interest among scholars in understanding how it develops, although the literature on purpose development is still in its infancy. Kashdan and McKnight (2009) theorized three primary pathways to purpose: conscious purpose searching (proactive), reactions to transformative life events (reactive), and imitation of others' observed behaviors (social learning). Liang and colleagues (2017) found support for these pathways in a qualitative study of purpose development among underrepresented youth, as well as elaborated on these processes by developing a framework that delineates the primary internal and external forces that promote purpose development. ...
Article
This qualitative descriptive study analyzed the role that natural mentors had in cultivating a sense of purpose and meaning among 38 diverse male and female high school students. The types of mentoring support provided and the students’ perceived experiences of receiving the support were considered in the analysis. Directed content analysis revealed four initial overarching types of supportive actions that were provided by mentors: emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal support. The types of support offered were further categorized across three dimensions of perceived support by the mentees: (a) affirmation (e.g., the experience of emotional and appraisal support), (b) cultivation (e.g., the experience of being challenged and obtaining skills), and (c) guidance (e.g., the experience of receiving information and advice). In order for mentees to perceive and accept cultivation and guidance support, they first needed to experience an affirming relationship with their mentors. Findings may inform best practices for mentoring youth toward lives of meaning and purpose.
... Recent qualitative studies of youth have shown that forming supportive relationships with people who can offer guidance, as well as possessing a specific passion, relevant character strengths and skills, and a desire to contribute to others, can help facilitate the development of purpose (e.g., . Kashdan and McKnight (2009) offered a pathway model of purpose development, including three pathways that are not mutually exclusive: observing others engage in purposeful action (i.e., the social learning pathway), partaking in one's own exploration of purposeful activities (i.e., the proactive pathway), and responding to a significant or transformative life event (i.e., the reactive pathway). Indeed, we know from history that transformative life events (e.g., adversity) can inspire purpose development via the reactive pathway (Frankl, 1959(Frankl, /1985). ...
Article
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), has claimed thousands of lives within the past few months; disrupted people’s participation in work, family, and school settings; and challenged economic and health care systems across the globe. In light of the countless challenges posed by COVID-19, a sense of purpose (i.e., a long-term life aim that guides behavior and contributes to the world beyond oneself) may be one important psychological resource for people of all ages to develop and/or recruit during this crisis. This article provides a brief overview of the purpose development literature, the argument that a growing or solidified sense of purpose can serve as an important internal resource during periods of adversity, and recommendations for practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Indeed, one of the main pathways to purpose outlined by Kashdan and McKnight (2009) Another question that arises is whether certain goal pursuits have greater impacts on purpose in life compared to others. Considering the Self-Concordance Model (Sheldon & Elliot, 1999), the pursuit of purpose-concordant goals-those which contribute to purpose in life or related higher-order goals-may increase the salience of the purpose. ...
Article
One of the biggest challenges for research on goal pursuit and self‐regulation has been to understand factors that drive one's goals over the long‐term as well as day‐to‐day. Purpose in life, a component of psychological wellbeing has received increased interest in the health sciences for its ability to predict a myriad of health behaviours. The present work integrates the literature on purpose in life with goal organization and pursuit and posits that purpose in life represents a higher‐order cognitive process which reciprocally stimulates goal selection and long‐term goal maintenance and is itself promoted by such goal pursuits. Purpose in life may influence goal selection consciously through a top‐down hierarchy of goal pursuits as well as unconsciously through direction of nonconscious attentional processes. Goal pursuit may reciprocally promote feelings of purpose in life when individuals are able to continually make strides towards goals of personal relevance to their major life aims. This study aims to present a model of purpose in life and goal pursuit that will serve to guide future work in the fields of motivation, positive psychology, and health and lifespan development.
... The most commonly held view on the nature of strengths is that they are essentially context-sensitive and do not operate in isolation (Hodges & Clifton, 2004;Biswas-Diener, et al., 2011;Ruch & Proyer, 2015). McKnight (2009) andBiswas-Diener et al. (2011) posited the concept of strengths tilt by theorizing that strengths need to interact with a person's interests and values (i.e., strengths are not enough in themselves). As an example, the strength of honesty may be manifested in different ways, such as by fulfilling one's promise to others (i.e., integrity) or by being true to one's self (i.e., authenticity). ...
Presentation
This paper is an integration of paradox theory and the paradoxical lens into strengths regulation as an alternative way to enable optimal performance. Various conceptualizations around strengths, talents, and traits are discussed to provide a sound theoretical framework. The nature and characteristics of strengths, as well as its ‘dark side,’ are likewise elaborated to explain the use of various strengths regulations, their features and limitations. The central theme of the paper is its introduction of a novel approach called “paradoxical strengths regulation,” where an old concept such as paradox finds a new way of application to the science of positive psychology. The use of paradoxical strengths regulation can help advance positive psychology’s ultimate goal of contributing to optimal human functioning. Keywords: #strengths, #talents, #traits, #paradox, #paradoxtheory, #goldenmean, #dialecticism, #paradoxicalstrengthsregulation
... Purposes in life are, above all, a psychological organizational principle that provides people with a vision of their future in a coherent and meaningful way regarding their present life and history (Kosby & Mariano, 2011). It can be understood as an inner strength that organizes, motivates and drives short-and long-term plans, behaviors and goals (Damon, 2009;Kashdan & Mcknight, 2009), outlining a life trajectory that is built on exchanges between the individual and life contexts (Malin, Reilly, Quinn, & Moran, 2013;Malin, 2018). In this sense, a person can have (and usually has) more than one purpose in life (Bronk, 2014;Bundick, 2011;Malin, 2018), combining several purposes at the same time or going through different purposes throughout life. ...
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The aim of the article was to analyze the purposes in life of young Brazilians. A total of 560 students, aged 15-19 years, from the five geopolitical regions of Brazil, answered an open questionnaire developed by the Stanford Center on Adolescence and adapted to the specificities of the research. The data were analyzed using the Theory of Organizing Models of Thinking, which enabled us to identify six models of purposes. Most young people expressed their life purposes as a natural course of life or as an idealized dream; most of them also presented a self-centered view of their purposes, focused on their own accomplishments. The results reveal an association between life purposes and identity of young Brazilians in the interaction with collective values, particularly regarding the overcoming of economic difficulties and financial achievements.
... Regarding student academic activities during Covid19, individuals who are very curious and open to new experiences are more likely to seek and live out their purpose of life (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). Curiosity increases one's sense of meaning in life (Kashdan & Steger, 2007). ...
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This article aims to explore aspects of the psychological well-being of Muslim students in Bandung during the Covid19 pandemic from the perspective of Islamic psychology. This study uses a quantitative approach with a survey method. The research participants consisted of 576 Muslim students in Bandung. Data were collected using a psychological well-being instrument developed by Ryff. The data analysis technique used is factor analysis. Based on the results of the study, it was obtained that the dominant aspects of psychological well being were ranked, namely positive relations with others at 74.1%; second, purpose in life by 73.2%; third, self-acceptance of 71.5%; fourth, autonomy of 71.4%; fifth, environmental mastery of 70.1% and the sixth, personal growth of 69.8%.Artikel ini bertujuan untuk mengeksplorasi aspek-aspek kesejahteraan psikologis pada mahasiswa muslim di kota Bandung selama pandemi Covid19. Penelitian ini menggunakan pendekatan kuantitatif dengan metode survey. Partisipan penelitian terdiri dari 576 mahasiswa beragama Islam di kota Bandung dan Cimahi. Data dikumpulkan menggunakan instrumen kesejahteraan psikologis yang dikembangkan oleh Ryff. Teknik analisis data yang digunakan yaitu analisis faktor. Berdasarkan hasil penelitian diperoleh peringkat aspek-aspek yang dominan terhadap psychological well being yaitu: Pertama positive relations with others sebesar 74.1%; Kedua, purpose in life sebesar 73.2%; Ketiga, self-acceptance sebesar 71.5%; Keempat, autonomy sebesar 71.4%; Kelima, environmental mastery sebesar 70.1%; dan Keenam, personal growth sebesar 69.8%.
... On the one hand, mindfulness promotes the efficient operation of the internal drive to explore the value of life by ascent of cognition. When the purpose in life is molded, the efficiency of self-exploration is increased to seek information from environment [44,45]. At the same time, the threshold of awareness is opened up to increase the sensitivity that can clarify the purpose in life. ...
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The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between mindfulness and mental health of graduate students and the mediating effects of sense of purpose in life on mindfulness and mental health. The participants include 419 graduate students from 6 universities in China, and there are 190 males and 229 females. The Hayes Process is adopted to analyze the effects of the sense of purpose in life on mindfulness and mental health of graduate students. The results reveal that mindfulness can effect the mental health of graduate students positively and significantly. The sense of purpose in life is found to mediate the relationship between mindfulness and mental health. In further moderated mediation analyses, the effect of mindfulness on mental health can be adjusted by family economic condition. The type of degree can adjust the effect of mindfulness on sense of purpose, and academic Interest can adjust the mediating effect of sense of purpose. Finally, this study discusses several empirical and methodological implications of the findings.
... For McKnight and Kashdan (2009), purpose is the core aspect of an individual's identity that sets continuous targets for one to pursue. For Kashdan and McKnight (2009), purpose is a compass that provides direction to life. Rockind (2011) describes purpose as a unique way in which individuals have impact in the world while Keyes (2011) conceive purpose as a determination to achieve certain end. ...
Article
Gratitude has been linked with normal human functioning and well-being yet, its association with happiness and life satisfaction remains understudied among non clinical samples in collectivist cultures. Most studies on gratitude are focused on clinical settings and in individualist cultures. This study investigates the predictive strength of gratitude and purpose in life on life satisfaction among university undergraduates in Nigeria. Using a cross sectional research design, 390 university students were selected from 2 (public and private) universities. A questionnaire on socio-demographic profile, gratitude scale(r=0.84), purpose in life scale(r=0.96) and life satisfaction scale (r=0.90) was administered to participants. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlation analysis and regression analysis at 0.05 level of significance. Three hypotheses were tested. The results revealed that gratitude and purpose in life jointly and independently predicted life satisfaction (R 2 = .24; F = 62.56; p<.05). Being grateful and having purpose are crucial for a comprehensive examination of life satisfaction.
... A person's sense of purpose or meaning (Kashdan and McKnight, 2009;Steger et al., 2009) and their personal or social identities (Ladge et al., 2012;Shepherd and Williams, 2018) may change with age as a result of the cumulative effect of salient experiences and their associated liminal periods (Ibarra and Petriglieri, 2010). A liminal period is a desirable, but not necessary condition for the formulation of a new ideal self. ...
Article
Purpose The ideal self has had a place in management literature in recent years with reference to identity and role change. However, except for a JMD article in 2006, there has been little theorizing on the ideal self, which is often treated as a static construct. The purpose of this article is to update and refine the concept and explain the dynamic nature of the construct. Design/methodology/approach This conceptual paper is based on a review of the recent management and psychology literature related to the ideal self and its components. Findings The authors propose a dynamic theory of the emerging ideal self and delineate how its components evolve over time. Research limitations/implications The ideal self, or one's personal vision, is a major motivator of learning and change and the sustainability of such efforts. The time dynamic theory would encourage and guide longitudinal research using better variables and measures as well as help in conceptualizing the role of socialization, social identity and life/career stages. Practical implications With a better theory of the ideal self, trainers, consultants, coaches and teachers can help people update their deep sense of purpose and the sustaining driver of learning and change the ideal self. It could help people and organizations address a major determinant of engagement. Originality/value This theory offers a temporal understanding of how the ideal self can motivate learning and change at different life and career eras, which can help in designing future research on identity-related transitions.
... Having a sense of meaning is a defining characteristic of wellbeing and is linked to the feeling of being connected to something greater than the self (Seligman, 2011). Studies found that people who see the purpose in their lives are generally healthier and have greater life-satisfaction and longevity (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). Belonging to and contributing to something greater than oneself is also an important element of being engaged and immersed in one's profession (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2011). ...
Article
This paper reports on a study designed to investigate the wellbeing of 14 pre-service language teachers from Austria and the UK. Data were generated through in-depth semi-structured interviews which were analysed following principles of Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2006). The data were compared across the two settings and the analysis revealed a number of individual but also systemic ecological factors that play a role in the pre-service teachers’ wellbeing. These factors include time management, work-life balance, relationships, finding purpose and meaning, the structure of study programs, as well as the status of teaching and the specific language in each respective society.
... 1 Es la manifestación de los valores basada en la creatividad, la experiencia y la actitud ante los problemas existenciales por lo que se deduce que el sentido de la vida es una percepción individual y propia de cada persona. 2 Para algunas personas, el significado de la vida es irrelevante, pero para otras, es fundamental que la vida tenga un propósito y un significado, para dotar de sentido y hacer posible la comprensión de la naturaleza de sus pensamientos, comportamientos y motivaciones. 3 Lyubomirsky et al. 4 plantean los beneficios del afecto positivo, sugiriendo que las emociones positivas, a menudo se asocian a comportamientos que incrementan la sociabilidad, el optimismo, la energía, la María del Mar Martí-Ejarque y cols. Validación y propiedades psicométricas de la versión española de la Perceived Life Significance Scale (PLSS) en una muestra de enfermeras ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Rev. Ética de los Cuidados 2021, v14: e13015 2 originalidad y el altruismo. ...
Article
Objetivo principal: Determinar las propiedades psicométricas de la versión española de la Perceived Life Significance Scale, publicada en 2015 por Rachel Hibberd. Metodología: Estudio observacional transversal en el que participaron 109 enfermeras que respondieron un cue stionario anónimo que contenía datos demográficos y las versiones españolas de la PLSS, la Escala de autoestima de Rosenberg (RSES), la versión reducida del Cuestionario de Felicidad de Oxford (OHQ-SF), Escala de Satisfacción con la vida y Escala de Ansiedad y Depresión Hospitalaria (HADS). Resultados principales: Se obtuvo un coeficiente alfa de consistencia interna de 0,82 y una correlación test-retest a dos semanas de 0,78 para la versión española de la PLSS. Las correlaciones de la PLSS con el resto de las escalas administradas están a favor de la validez de constructo del instrumento. Conclusión principal: La versión española de la PLSS es un instrumento válido y fiable para estudiar la percep-ción del significado de la vida en enfermeras españolas. Palabras clave: Enfermeras. Encuestas y Cuestionarios. Percepción. Significado de la vida. Objective: To determine the preliminary psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Perceived Life Significance Scale (PLSS) published in 2015 by Rachel Hibberd. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study. Participants were 109 nurses, who answered an anonymous questionnaire containing demographic data and the Spanish form of PLSS, Self steem Rosenberg' scale (RSES), the reduced version of the Oxford happiness questionnaire (OHQ-SF), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) and the Hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS). Results: A Cronbach's alpha of .82 was obtained and two weeks after the test-retest correlations were of .78 for the Spanish form of PLSS. The scores of the PLSS showed positive and significant correlations with the rest of the scales and they advocated the construct validity of the instrument. Conclusions: The Spanish version of the PLSS is a valid and reliable tool for the study of the meaning of life among nurses in Span-ish-speaking countries.
... Because of the diverse findings and the paucity of existing literature, it may be useful to better understand the relationship between the time spent on social media and the presence of or search for meaning of life during emerging adulthood given the absence of research that explores the relation between social media usage and the importance of meaning and purpose (Bundick, 2011;García-Alandete et al., 2018;Kashdan & McKnight, 2009;Mayseless & Keren, 2014;Steger et al., 2009) during an especially salient period of life for emerging adults. There is some research related to purpose and social media. ...
Article
We explored the most important sources of meaning among emerging adults and whether time spent on social media had an effect on life meaning dimensions. Results showed that the majority of emerging adults mentioned family and friends when asked in an open‐ended question about things that make their life meaningful.
... Un propósito de vida es un objetivo que da sentido a nuestra existencia. Los propósitos vitales representan la manera en que cada persona percibe el mundo que le rodea, dan sentido a su vida pasada y presente, cuya consecución debe ser evaluada para conseguir mejorar fortalezas y crecer personalmente (García, 2019;Kashdan y Mcknight, 2009). En la cultura japonesa se denomina ikigai, un concepto que podría traducirse como "razón de ser". ...
... Similarly, preventing others from having to experience a similar trauma might become a career goal or inspire a sense of purpose in life. Kashdan and McKnight (2009) call this type of purpose acquisition "reactive development," and it shares consistent associations with identity-promoting resources such as agency, social well-being, and purpose commitment (Hill, Sumner, & Burrow, 2014). ...
Article
El presente estudio tiene como objetivo identificar las metas académicas, ocupacionales y personales a corto y largo plazo que daban sentido a la vida de 158 estudiantes de un bachillerato público en el Estado de Yucatán. Se empleó un enfoque metodológico cuantitativo, un tipo de estudio descriptivo y un diseño no experimental tipo encuesta. La muestra fue de sujetos voluntarios cuyas edades oscilaban entre 15 y 18 años. Los resultados mostraron que en las metas a corto plazo existían coincidencias entre ambos sexos en terminar el bachillerato, ingresar a la universidad y trabajar, por otro lado, se encontró que los hombres se enfocaban en trazar metas relacionadas con su bienestar físico y las mujeres en viajar. Mientras que, con respecto a las metas a largo plazo, ambos sexos coincidían en terminar la carrera, trabajar, formar una familia, adquirir bienes y viajar. También se encontró que aun cuando el modelo laboral ha cambiado son pocos los jóvenes que manifiestan interés por el emprendedurismo, lo cual representa un área de oportunidad para que las autoridades educativas centren sus esfuerzos en promover en sus estudiantes el desarrollo de proyectos de emprendimiento que les permitan generar fuentes de empleo.
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In this chapter, we review the change trajectories and benefits of purpose throughout the lifespan. We begin by defining two aspects of purpose: (1) sense of purpose, or the extent to which one perceives their life to have goals and directions, and (2) purpose in life, or the specific goals one articulates. Next, we discuss the purpose development process through which one traverses in adolescence and emerging adulthood, and the benefits those with a purpose experience in the context of identity development and well-being. From there, we outline the developmental trajectories of purpose in middle and older adulthood, before narrowing in on the physical and cognitive health benefits associated with a higher sense of purpose. We conclude by discussing future directions to further understand the mechanisms through which purpose promotes healthy development across the lifespan, as well as the current gaps in the purpose and aging literature.
Article
Rather than considering human potential in terms of an unrealized desired state, what if we framed it as gaining momentum in worthy long-term pursuits? This conceptual article, integrating ideas and findings from several scholarly literatures, explores how life purpose can serve as a meaningful, intentional guide for individuals, especially youth, to direct their other potentials into prosocial contributions to society. The argument (a) considers life purpose itself as a form of intrapersonal giftedness different from academic giftedness; (b) describes how life purpose could include distinctions of further potentials: coherence among purpose dimensions, influence on different life domains, reach of others impacted by the youths’ contributions, emphasis to change society, and precocious emergence of purpose’s dimensions and distinctions; and (c) muses how life purpose’s directing of other potentials might become a potential that could be realized by all youth.
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This study provides insights into how Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong interpret the concept of “meaning in life.” Data were collected from nine focus groups involving 57 junior secondary school students (age range: 13 to 16 years). It was found that students tended to interpret meaning in life as equivalent to “having a plan for a career” and “setting life goals.” Information collected suggests that a reciprocal relationship exists between possession of meaning in life, connectedness, and life skills development. Students also indicated how guidance activities in school supported development of meaning in life.
Article
Trauma can alter the course of identity development and destabilize existing identity commitments. Trauma, whether past or current, can also impact the resources a person brings to identity work. However, identity can also be a lens through which trauma is perceived and interpreted, helping to determine whether a traumatic experience results in posttraumatic stress disorder or posttraumatic growth. Despite the apparent implications each construct has for the other, the scholarship at the intersection of trauma and identity remains sparse. This Special Issue explores how and when trauma and identity influence one another by considering their association across various adolescent populations, methodologies, traumatic event types, and facets of identity. In doing so, this Special Issue lays the groundwork necessary for exploring, proposing, and testing more complex and nuanced reciprocal relations models between identity and trauma.
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In this paper, we explain why a group of Tanzanian medical doctors decided to stay in their home country despite a massive brain drain and pressure to migrate. We argue that purpose-driven behaviour among medical doctors serves as a counterforce to brain drain, fostering human stickiness in a developing country context. A sense of purpose provides a novel lens to understand voluntary non-migration of highly-skilled professionals under extreme conditions. Furthermore, incoming expatriate doctors build local capacity by sharing skills and expertise with Tanzanian doctors. This affects the medical doctors’ motives to migrate, further reducing brain drain. These individual-level decisions not to migrate find their application in policy. We advocate policies that support purpose-driven behaviour and generate long-term commitment to a location, while advancing short-term mobility for knowledge sharing. The policy initiatives are targeted at actors in the sending and receiving countries as well as in international organisations, covering concerted multi-layered policies to support family and community embeddedness, to facilitate the incoming of expatriate doctors and foreign exchange, and to cultivate benefits of circular migration. We argue that migration behaviour is more individually grounded and socio-emotionally constructed than what dominant economic-based explanations suggest.
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Sense of purpose can be understood as the extent to which one feels that they have personally meaningful goals and directions guiding them through life. Though the predictive value of this construct is well-established based on the robust research illustrating that it predicts a host of desirable cognitive, physical, and well-being benefits, the nature of sense of purpose is still under-researched. In particular, little is known regarding the extent to which this construct fluctuates within an individual and what is tied to those fluctuations. The current study addresses this gap by utilizing data from four separate studies (total N = 3,390) with lag variability to explore three primary questions. First, how much within-person variability do people exhibit in sense of purpose at the hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly level? Second, how does sense of purpose variability compare to positive and negative affect variability? Third, does dispositional sense of purpose predict short-term sense of purpose variability, and does age have a linear and/or quadratic association with sense of purpose variability? The current project finds that approximately 50-70% of the variability in sense of purpose scores occurs between-person, with the monthly reports exhibiting the least amount of within-person variability. Furthermore, the within-person variability of sense of purpose is often comparable to positive and negative affect depending on the time between measurement occasions. Finally, higher levels of dispositional sense of purpose do not appear to be strongly tied to how much variability an individual experiences in their purposefulness from one time period to next. However, depending on the amount of time between measurement occasions, higher age may be tied to experiences of variability. The discussion focuses on what these findings mean for the trait-like nature of sense of purpose, short-term sense of purpose measurement, lifespan development, and intervention efforts. https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/art_sci_etds/2724
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The transition into college involves several trials and tribulations, and students’ ability to deal with this process may be facilitated by finding a sense of purpose. Having a purpose has been shown to have a variety of benefits for college students, whether it is garnering the perseverance to help withstand the various stressors college students must endure or the potential it has for promoting well-being. This review describes why purpose is an important consideration for higher education researchers by noting its relevance to the college experience and its ability to predict desirable outcomes. This review also addresses the potential for individuals to change their purpose and life goals, and three potential pathways (proactive, reactive, and social learning) to pursue a purpose. Finally, this review ends by discussing applications for higher education institutes, including how to help students combat potential mental health issues, and increase their likelihood of being a successful student. With college student well-being as a prominent concern, there is a clear need for different facets of the education system at large to better address these issues. An effort to integrate purpose throughout the college experience may provide an effective route for professors and administrators to combat this mental health crisis.
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Aim To deepen our research on how to develop a more positive life purpose, this study investigates the role of protégés’ self‐concordance and mentor feedback environment in shaping protégés’ life purpose. Method This study was a cross‐sectional study using a sample of nurses. 700 valid questionnaires were collected. Jamovi and Process Macro were used for analysis. Results The positive association between self‐concordance and protégés’ life purpose is stronger when mentor feedback environment is high than when mentor feedback environment is low. Conclusion Protégés’ life purpose can be enhanced by self‐concordance, especially for protégés who work in supportive mentor feedback environment. Implications for nursing management It is important to build a supportive mentor feedback environment. Further, protégés should promote the transformation of extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation.
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Potential antecedents to having a sense of purpose in life remain understudied. As researchers begin contemplating purpose as a promising target of public health intervention, it is critical to identify its antecedents. Using prospective data from the Nurses' Health Study II (2009-2016; N ranged from 3,905 to 4,189), this study evaluated a wide range of potential antecedents of purpose, including: psychosocial well-being, psychological distress, employment characteristics, lifestyle, and physical health factors. In separate regression models we regressed purpose in life on each candidate antecedent. In each model, we adjusted for the prior value of purpose, prior values of all exposure variables, and various other covariates simultaneously. Bonferroni correction was used to correct for multiple testing. The results suggested that positive affect and the number of close relatives were each associated with higher purpose (e.g., β=0.14, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.17 for positive affect). Several psychological distress indicators were inversely associated with purpose, including depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, loneliness, and hopelessness (e.g., β=-0.16, 95% CI: -0.19, -0.13 for depressive symptoms). There was also some evidence suggesting that fewer close friends, living alone, and unemployment/retirement were associated with lower purpose. There was, however, little evidence that health behaviors or physical health were associated with subsequent purpose. This study extends the literature by providing longitudinal evidence with rigorous analytic methodologies, and by considering a wide range of potential antecedents of purpose including some that have seldom been examined previously.
Article
Life-purpose orientations can highly influence people’s life paths and well-being. However, existing psychological measurements tend to dismiss the need for assessing the individual’s life purpose orientations, especially in non-Western cultures. This study sought to develop a new measure to assess purpose orientations specific to the Chinese context. We first built the item pool of Chinese college students’ life purpose orientations (Study 1). This was followed by conducting an initial testing of the item pool, and developing a preliminary sixdimension Chinese Life Purpose Orientation Questionnaire (Study 2). Further revision supported a five-dimension questionnaire with adequate validity and reliability (Study 3). The measure’s validity and reliability were discussed, and the limitations also were addressed.
Article
Objectives: While sense of purpose is a robust predictor of well-being, little work has considered whether the associations vary based on future time perspective. Exploring this possibility is important given that the extent to which one may pursue their life aims could be dependent upon how much time they feel that they have remaining. Methods: Using three samples (total n = 2333), the current study considered the association between sense of purpose and future time perspective. Moderation tests also examined whether the associations between sense of purpose and three well-being components (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction) differed as a function of future time perspective. Results: Across all three studies, people with a broader time perspective reported a higher sense of purpose. Both constructs predicted greater well-being, even after accounting for chronological age. Future time perspective moderated the associations between sense of purpose and well-being, such that the negative association between sense of purpose and negative affect was stronger for those with a broader time perspective and the positive association between sense of purpose and life satisfaction was stronger for those with a limited time perspective. Conclusion: The well-being benefits associated with sense of purpose in adulthood may depend on future time perspective. Findings are discussed in the context of how purpose can be harnessed to enhance well-being even when older adults feel that their time left is limited.
Article
Background With teachers in high-poverty schools facing increased stress, decreased motivation, and job satisfaction, it is imperative to identify educators that can thrive and sustain over time and intend to remain teaching in high-poverty schools despite these concerns. Identifying individual characteristics of teacher sustainability related to one’s intention to remain teaching can help offset teacher attrition and turnover through intervention and support of teachers. This study explored the constructs of teaching sustainability (psychological flexibility (PF), resilience (tRES), and sense of purpose (SOP)) as they relate to a group of physical education teachers working in high-poverty schools. Research design This study utilized an interpretivist philosophy. The interviewees volunteered after completing a national survey (N = 538) of PE teachers related to teacher sustainability. Randomly selected teachers (n = 26) participated in semi-structured interviews exploring their perceptions, definitions, and significance of teaching sustainability in high-poverty schools. Findings Results from the inductive thematic analysis produced three general dimensions related to teaching sustainability in high-poverty schools: sustaining through career frustrations, awareness and acceptance, and values-driven behavior. Although external factors such as financial discrepancies were real stressors in these teacher’s lives that led to many questioning whether to leave or stay in the profession, the ability to regulate emotions while maintaining a strong internalized meaning and purpose may have helped their efficient management of stressors and sustainability in high-poverty schools over time. Conclusion Although this study provides insight into teaching sustainability in high-poverty schools, much is still unknown. The teachers possessed strong individual dispositions that facilitated elevated levels of PF, tRES, and SOP. School administrators in high-poverty schools must establish a strong culture of support to facilitate the teacher sustainability constructs and intentionally recruit teachers with the capacity for possessing strong teacher sustainability dispositions. Identifying ways to increase the constructs of teacher sustainability of physical education teachers can decrease the concerns surrounding teacher attrition and increase job satisfaction for teachers working in high-poverty schools.
Chapter
Vertical adult developmental models demonstrate that adults move through stages of increasing complexity and maturity characterised by the ability to take wider and wider perspectives on lived experiences. Although not all development is vertical, this theory presupposes that coaching interventions support the stabilisation of a client at one level, or the transformation to the next. In contrast, positive psychology coaching aims to utilise interventions to support individuals to develop their strengths, cultivate resilience and flourish, but to date, does not map this growth on constructive adult developmental theory. This chapter explores the coaching interventions that support client transitions at each of the developmental stages and considers how specific positive psychology interventions (PPIs) can be leveraged at each stage. This bottom-up approach in applying PPIs to developmental coaching is compared and contrasted with a top-down positive psychology approach, which maps various positive psychology elements such as strengths, subjective wellbeing and flow to adult developmental stages. By combining these bi-directional interventions, it is argued that positive psychology coaching and constructive developmental coaching have much to offer each other.
Article
A core attribute of the positive youth development movement has been to nullify negative perceptions of youth’s capacities. Toward this end, measurement and classification systems benefit from efforts to view youth’s capacities as assets contextualized by developmental potentials and opportunities. In this article, we consider this point with respect to whether youth are purposeful. The prevailing sentiment of some researchers holds that few adolescents have a purpose in life, perhaps reifying negative beliefs about their capacity. We assert an alternative view that focuses on sense of purpose, which relies on abundant evidence that adolescents generally perceive themselves to be purposeful, thus offering a more inclusive and positive portrayal of young people. This different perspective also opens the door to new opportunities for studying the development of purpose among marginalized adolescents, as well as how interventions may motivate a sense of purpose among youth.
Article
Araştırmanın temel problemini Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi’nde farklı fakültelerde öğrenim gören öğrencilerin yaşam amacı ve dindarlık düzeyleri arasındaki ilişki oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmada, yaşam amacı alt boyutlarından kişisel gelişim, maddi kazanç, fiziksel görünüm, sosyal sorumluluk ve bireysel farkındalık ile dindarlık arasındaki ilişkinin incelenmesi hedeflenmiştir. Çalışmada aynı zamanda katılımcıların demografik özellikler ile (cinsiyet, öğrenim görülen fakülte ve algılanan akademik başarı düzeyi) yaşam amacı alt boyutları arasında bulunan ilişki de tespit edilmiştir. Örneklem grubu İslami İlimler Fakültesi, Hukuk Fakültesi, Tıp Fakültesi, Mühendislik ve Doğa Bilimleri Fakültesi ve İşletme Fakültesinden toplam 317 katılımcıdan oluşmaktadır. Araştırmada Gülmez tarafından geliştirilen ‘Dindarlık Ölçeği’ ve Aydıner tarafından geliştirilen ‘Yaşam Amaçları Ölçeği’ kullanılmıştır. Elde edilen veriler SPSS 25 istatistik paket programında analiz edilmiştir. Elde edilen bulgulara göre yaşam amacı alt boyutları ve dindarlık arasında anlamlı ilişki saptanmıştır. Buna göre kişisel gelişim, sosyal sorumluluk ve bireysel farkındalık ile dindarlık arasında anlamlı pozitif yönlü, maddi kazanç ve fiziksel görünüm ile dindarlık arasında anlamlı ve negatif yönlü bir ilişki tespit edilmiştir.
Article
Purpose in life is linked with numerous positive outcomes among adolescents and emerging adults. Peer relationships may play an important role in the cultivation of purpose, especially among first-generation college (FGC) students. The present study examined the association between the quality of peer relationships and commitment to purpose among students from three universities (N = 195). Analyses also examined whether FGC student status moderated this association. The results indicated that the quality of peer relationships significantly predicted commitment to purpose. FGC status moderated this association; high-quality relationships with peers helped close the gap in purpose commitment between FGC students and their counterparts.
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Several literatures converge on the idea that approach and positive affect related to goal pursuit are managed by one self-regulatory system and that avoidance (or withdrawal) and negative affect related to threats are managed by a second self-regulatory system. After briefly reviewing these literatures, the authors consider the relation of these themes to the broader domain of personality. In particular, they map individual differences in the responsivity of the approach system onto the personality dimension of extraversion and map individual differences in the responsivity of the withdrawal system onto the dimension of neuroticism. This mapping requires a slight refocusing of current conceptions of extraversion and neuroticism. However, such a refocusing brings a gain as well as a cost: In particular, it would embed these dimensions more explicitly in a process-oriented conceptualization of action control.
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There is now a large body of evidence that supports the conclusion that individual differences in most, if not all, reliably measured psychological traits, normal and abnormal, are substantively influenced by genetic factors. This fact has important implications for research and theory building in psychology, as evidence of genetic influence unleashes a cascade of questions regarding the sources of variance in such traits. A brief list of those questions is provided, and representative findings regarding genetic and environmental influences are presented for the domains of personality, intelligence, psychological interests, psychiatric illnesses, and social attitudes. These findings are consistent with those reported for the traits of other species and for many human physical traits, suggesting that they may represent a general biological phenomenon.
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This article develops a perspective on interest and interests as aspects of motivation, emotion, and personality. Interest is viewed as a capricious emotion with few, if any, immediate adaptational functions; it serves long-term adaptational goals by cultivating knowledge and diversifying skills and experience. Interests are viewed as idiosyncratic intrinsic motives that promote expertise. Theories of how interests arise are reviewed and organized. A model of how the emotion of interest participates in the development of enduring interests is proposed. The author concludes that apparently frivolous aspects of motivation and personality such as "idle curiosity" and avocations seem to play complex roles in human experience and development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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D. Watson and A. Tellegen (1985) proposed a "consensual" structure of affect based on J. A. Russell's (1980) circumplex. The authors' review of the literature indicates that this 2-factor model captures robust structural properties of self-rated mood. Nevertheless, the evidence also indicates that the circumplex does not fit the data closely and needs to be refined. Most notably, the model's dimensions are not entirely independent; moreover, with the exception of Pleasantness–Unpleasantness, they are not completely bipolar. More generally, the data suggest a model that falls somewhere between classic simple structure and a true circumplex. The authors then examine two of the dimensions imbedded in this structure, which they label Negative Activation (NA) and Positive Activation (PA). The authors argue that PA and NA represent the subjective components of broader biobehavioral systems of approach and withdrawal, respectively. The authors conclude by demonstrating how this framework helps to clarify various affect-related phenomena, including circadian rhythms, sleep, and the mood disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Predicted, on the basis of recent research on self-presentation and self-attention, that the presence of supportive audiences might be detrimental to performance in some circumstances. Specifically, the imminent opportunity to claim a desired identity in front of a supportive audience might engender a state of self-attention that could interfere with the execution of skillful responses. Archival data from championship series in 2 major league sports supported this reasoning. It was found that in baseball's World Series, home teams tend to win early games but lose decisive (final) games. Supplementary analyses suggested that the pattern occurs when the home team has the opportunity to win the championship and that it does involve performance decrements by the home team. Similar patterns were found in semifinal and championship series in professional basketball. (30 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Meaning in life has been identified as a potential mediator of the link between religiousness and psychological health. The authors tested this hypothesis in 2 studies, using multiple methods and measures of religiousness and well-being. In the studies, meaning in life mediated the relation between religiousness and life satisfaction (Study 1A), as well as self-esteem and optimism (Study 1B). In addition, using an experience sampling method, the authors found that meaning in life also mediated the relation between daily religious behaviors and well-being (Study 2). The authors discuss these findings and suggest that meaning in life may be an effective conduit through which counselors and clients can discuss "ultimate" matters, even when they do not share similar perspectives on religion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research on curiosity has undergone 2 waves of intense activity. The 1st, in the 1960s, focused mainly on curiosity's psychological underpinnings. The 2nd, in the 1970s and 1980s, was characterized by attempts to measure curiosity and assess its dimensionality. This article reviews these contributions with a concentration on the 1st wave. It is argued that theoretical accounts of curiosity proposed during the 1st period fell short in 2 areas: They did not offer an adequate explanation for why people voluntarily seek out curiosity, and they failed to delineate situational determinants of curiosity. Furthermore, these accounts did not draw attention to, and thus did not explain, certain salient characteristics of curiosity: its intensity, transience, association with impulsivity, and tendency to disappoint when satisfied. A new account of curiosity is offered that attempts to address these shortcomings. The new account interprets curiosity as a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Traditional approaches for working with children and families in the schools focus on problems and disturbance. The concept of positive psychology as a way to change this focus is offered through exploration of its integration within school psychology. Specifically, the application of positive psychology can form the basis of preventive practices within the school setting. Examples of this application are provided within common roles of the school psychologist (consultation, direct work, educational assessment and planning). © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Psychol Schs 41: 163–172, 2004.
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Empirical research on the development of individual interests is mostly concerned with the analysis of developmental trends in groups or populations. However, there is a distinct lack of theoretical constructs that describe and explain interest development from the perspective of the growing individual. This article presents a collection of theoretical concepts and models that can be used to describe and explore structural and dynamic aspects of interest development from an ontogenetic research perspective. Basic ideas of an educational–psychological conceptualization of interest are outlined that—contrary to many other conceptualizations in this field—is based on a dynamic theory of personality. Such an approach provides an opportunity to analyze and reconstruct the manifold interrelations between the changing structure of a person's pattern of interests and the developing personal “self” during ontogenesis. Exemplary selected theoretical models and ideas are presented, including the question of general stages during the course of interest development from childhood to early adulthood, models to describe and theoretically reconstruct structural changes in an individual's pattern of personal interests over a longer period of time, ideas of how to conceptualize the transition from situational to individual interest, and theoretical considerations about the structure and function of the psychological regulation-system that is assumed to be responsible for establishing and stabilizing motivational preferences. Although these concepts and considerations are not yet integrated into a coherent ontogenetic theory, they may serve as a basis for a theoretical discussion on how to achieve this aim.
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The influence of social relationships on human development and behavior is receiving increased attention from psychologists, who are central contributors to the rapidly developing multidisciplinary field of relationship science. In this article, the authors selectively review some of the significant strides that have been made toward understanding the effects of relationships on development and behavior and the processes by which relationships exert their influence on these, with the purpose of highlighting important questions that remain to be answered, controversial issues that need to be resolved, and potentially profitable paths for future inquiry. The authors' thesis is that important advances in psychological knowledge will be achieved from concerted investigation of the relationship context in which most important human behaviors are developed and displayed.
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Eighty-nine women with fibromyalgia completed the Life Orientation Test, identified health and social goals, and answered questions from the Goal Systems Assessment Battery (P. Karoly & L. Ruehlman, 1995) about their valuation of, and self-efficiency in attaining, each goal. For 30 days, they responded to palm-top computer interviews about their pain and fatigue and rated their goal effort, goal progress, and pain- and fatigue-related goal barriers. Goal barriers increased and goal efforts and progress decreased on days with greater pain and fatigue; goals valued more highly were pursued more effortfully and successfully; more optimistic individuals were less likely to perceive goal barriers and, on days that were more fatiguing than usual, were less likely to reduce their effort and to retreat from progress in achieving their health goal; and more pessimistic individuals perceived greater goal barriers on days that were less painful than usual.
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Can people feel worse off as the options they face increase? The present studies suggest that some people--maximizers--can. Study 1 reported a Maximization Scale, which measures individual differences in desire to maximize. Seven samples revealed negative correlations between maximization and happiness, optimism, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, and positive correlations between maximization and depression, perfectionism, and regret. Study 2 found maximizers less satisfied than nonmaximizers (satisficers) with consumer decisions, and more likely to engage in social comparison. Study 3 found maximizers more adversely affected by upward social comparison. Study 4 found maximizers more sensitive to regret and less satisfied in an ultimatum bargaining game. The interaction between maximizing and choice is discussed in terms of regret, adaptation, and self-blame.
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Many people are exposed to loss or potentially traumatic events at some point in their lives, and yet they continue to have positive emotional experiences and show only minor and transient disruptions in their ability to function. Unfortunately, because much of psychology's knowledge about how adults cope with loss or trauma has come from individuals who sought treatment or exhibited great distress, loss and trauma theorists have often viewed this type of resilience as either rare or pathological. The author challenges these assumptions by reviewing evidence that resilience represents a distinct trajectory from the process of recovery, that resilience in the face of loss or potential trauma is more common than is often believed, and that there are multiple and sometimes unexpected pathways to resilience.
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A home advantage in sport competitions has been well documented. The strength and consistency of the home advantage has made it a popular phenomenon in sport today. Very little systematic research has been carried out, however, and the home advantage remains one of the least understood phenomena in sport. It appears that much of the game location research has been arbitrary, and a clear sense of direction is lacking. The purpose of the present paper is to provide a conceptual framework to organize a comprehensive review of previous game location research and provide direction for future research. The review of literature indicated that the descriptive phase of inquiry has been completed, and it is time to address the underlying mechanisms responsible for the manifestation of the home advantage. Possible methodologies and areas of inquiry are highlighted and discussed.
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In a sample of 287 heart attack victims who were interviewed 7 weeks and 8 years after their attack or who were known to have died during follow-up, interrelations among causal attributions for the attack, perceived benefits of the attack, survivor morbidity, and heart attack recurrence were explored. Analyses focused on early cognitive predictors of heart attack recurrence and 8-year morbidity and on the effects of surviving another heart attack on cognitive appraisals. Independently of sociodemographic characteristics and physicians' ratings of initial prognosis, patients who cited benefits from their misfortune 7 weeks after the first attack were less likely to have another attack and had lower levels of morbidity 8 years later. Attributing the initial attack to stress responses (e.g., worrying, nervousness) was also predictive of greater morbidity in 8-year survivors and blaming the initial attack on other people was predictive of reinfarctions. Men who survived a subsequent heart attack were more likely than men who did not have additional attacks to cite benefits and made more attributions 8 years after the initial attack. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article describes the concept of posttraumatic growth, its conceptual foundations, and supporting empirical evidence. Posttraumatic growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises. It is manifested in a variety of ways, including an increased appreciation for life in general, more meaningful interpersonal relationships, an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual life. Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient. We propose a model for understanding the process of posttraumatic growth in which individual characteristics, support and disclosure, and more centrally, significant cognitive processing involving cognitive structures threatened or nullified by the traumatic events, play an important role. It is also suggested that posttraumatic growth mutually interacts with life wisdom and the development of the life narrative, and that it is an on-going process, not a static outcome.
Chapter
The territory that psychologists explore is still largely uncharted; so to find Eysenck’s model for personality in the middle of this terra incognita is rather like stumbling across St. Pancras Station in the heart of the African jungle. Faced with this apparition, one’s first question is, not “does it work?”, but “what’s it for?” This, indeed, is the right question to ask. Eysenck’s model bestrides the field of personality like a colossus. There have been other attempts to describe personality, notably Cattell’s and Guilford’s, and other attempts to explain it, above all, Pavlov’s and Teplov’s: but no one has tried to achieve both these aims on the same scale as Eysenck. In consequence, it is extremely difficult to see the Eysenckian edifice in perspective: there are too few other buildings with which to compare it, only the surrounding trackless jungle. It is by asking “what’s it for?” that we can best provide this perspective. In answer to this question, Fig. 8.1 dis plays what I take to be the general structure of Eysenck’s theory of extra version-introversion (E-I) and neuroticism (N).
Book
Psychologists have always been intrigued in interest, and modern research on interest can be found in nearly every area of the field: researchers studying emotions, cognition, development, education, aesthetics, personality, motivation, and vocations have developed intriguing ideas about what interest is and how it works. This book presents an integrated picture of how interest has been studied in all of the wide-ranging areas of psychology. Using modern theories of cognition and emotion as an integrative framework, it examines the nature of interest, what makes things interesting, the role of interest in personality, and the development of people's idiosyncratic interests, hobbies, and avocations. The examination reveals deep similarities between seemingly different fields of psychology and illustrates the profound importance of interest, curiosity, and intrinsic motivation for understanding why people do what they do. A comprehensive work devoted to interest, this book reviews the history of psychological thought on interest, presents classic and modern research, and suggests fruitful directions for future work.
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Although goal theorists have speculated about the causes and consequences of making progress at personal goals, little longitudinal research has examined these issues. In the current prospective study, participants with stronger social and self-regulatory skills made more progress in their goals over the course of a semester. In turn, goal progress predicted increases in psychological well-being, both in short-term (5-day) increments and across the whole semester; At both short- and long-term levels of analysis, however, the amount that well-being increased depended on the "organismic congruence" of participants' goals. That is, participants benefited most from goal attainment when the goals that they pursued were consistent with inherent psychological needs. We conclude that a fuller understanding of the relations between goals, performance, and psychological well-being requires recourse to both cybernetic and organismic theories of motivation.
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As the scientific study of the individual person, personality psychology historically has struggled to provide the kind of broad conceptual framework capable of orienting theory and research around human individuality in cultural context. This article presents a new integrative framework for studying persons that brings together recent advances in the field of personality with the emerging social science emphasis on the narrative study of lives, while situating personality inquiry within the cultural context of contemporary modernity and the unique problems of the modem self The framework builds on a clear distinction between the ''I'' and the ''Me'' features of personality in the modem world and the delineation of three relatively independent levels on which modern persons may be described. In personality, the I may be viewed as the process of ''selfing,'' of narrating experience to create a modern self whereas the Me may be viewed as the self that the I constructs. Personality traits, like those included within the Big Five taxonomy, reside at Level I of personality description and provide a general, comparative, and nonconditional dispositional signature for the person. Level II subsumes tasks, goals, projects, tactics, defenses, values, and other developmental, motivational, and/or strategic concerns that contextualize a person's life in time, place, and role. Speaking directly to the modern problem of reflexively creating a unified and purposeful configuration of the Me, life stories reside at the third level of personality, as internalized integrative narrations of the personal past, present, and future. It is mainly through the psychosocial construction of life stories that modern adults create identity in the Me. Life stories may be examined in terms of their structure and content, function, development, individual differences, and relation to mental health and psychosocial adaptation.
Article
In this article I trace some of the historic roots of the concept of Openness to Experience and provide data on the convergent and discriminant validity of measures of Openness in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R). Factor analyses demonstrate that facet scales measuring Openness to Fantasy, Aesthetics, Feelings, Actions, Ideas, and Values covary to define a broad dimension of personality; these scales are weakly and inconsistently related to psychometric measures of intelligence and to self-report measures of Intellectance that emphasize academic ability. I illustrate the construct of Openness with a case study and conclude with suggestions for exploring the role of Openness in understanding cognitive traits, consciousness and mental processes, and the interface between cognition and emotion.
Article
How does man know anything and, in particular, how can we account for creative thought? Campbell posits 2 major conditions: mechanisms which produce wide and frequent variation (an inductive, trial and error, fluency of ideas) and criteria for the selection of the inductive given (the critical function). The ramifications of this perspective are explored in terms of organic evolution and human history, and in terms of psychology and epistemology. This exposition is offered as a pretheoretical model.
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
believe that attempts to relate the structure of central nervous system neurobiology and neurochemistry to the structure of personality . . . require a clear conceptual framework / a theoretical strategy is needed to guide selection of the neurobiological and personality variables hypothesized to relate / our theoretical approach to the neurobiology of personality is first explicated / began by broadening our understanding of [personality] structure by assessing the structure of behavioral systems as defined by ethology and psychology / the structure of behavior reflects the existence of neurobehavioral-emotional systems that elicit and motivate certain subjective emotional experiences and overt patterns of behavior to particular classes of stimulus / thus, a particular class of stimulus, the emotional feelings and motivation generated, and the behavior patterns expressed all form integral components of a coherent emotional system analogous structure of neurobehavioral-emotional systems and personality [types and organization of neurobehavioral systems, the structure of a general neurobehavioral-emotional system, the structure of personality and its superfactors] / putative neurobiology of three personality superfactors [positive emotionality, constraint, negative emotionality] / studies of the relationship of DA [dopamine] to positive emotionality and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) to constraint / implications for personality disorders [implications for the development of substance abuse] (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.
Article
Abstract Little research has been reported that explores meaning-discovery and meaning-making in persons with AIDS. Self-transcendence experiences, as proposed by Reed (1991), may lead to maintenance or restoration of mental health in persons facing end-of-life issues. Nurses who work with persons with life-threatening illness, such as men and women with AIDS, have opportunities to facilitate choices that lead to experiences from which meaning and emotional well-being may be obtained. This study used a phenomenological approach to describe experiences of 10 men and 10 women with AIDS that led to feelings of increased self-worth, purpose, and meaning in their lives. Participants provided oral or written descriptions of experiences associated with feelings of increased connectedness with others, sense of well-being, and hope for longer life. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenological technique (1978). Although men and women with AIDS faced some of the same issues, their responses were different. By incorporating gender and individual differences, nurses may be better able to create therapeutic exchanges in which self-transcendence views and behaviors are fostered in both men and women with AIDS.
Article
This study examined curiosity as a mechanism for achieving and maintaining high levels of well-being and meaning in life. Of primary interest was whether people high in trait curiosity derive greater well-being on days when they are more curious. We also tested whether trait and daily curiosity led to greater, sustainable well-being. Predictions were tested using trait measures and 21 daily diary reports from 97 college students. We found that on days when they are more curious, people high in trait curiosity reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviors, and greater presence of meaning, search for meaning, and life satisfaction. Greater trait curiosity and greater curiosity on a given day also predicted greater persistence of meaning in life from one day into the next. People with greater trait curiosity reported more frequent hedonistic events but they were associated with less pleasure compared to the experiences of people with less trait curiosity. The benefits of hedonistic events did not last beyond the day of their occurrence. As evidence of construct specificity, curiosity effects were not attributable to Big Five personality traits or daily positive or negative mood. Our results provide support for curiosity as an ingredient in the development of well-being and meaning in life. The pattern of findings casts doubt on some distinctions drawn between eudaimonia and hedonic well-being traditions.
Article
This article opens by noting that positive emotions do not fit existing models of emotions. Consequently, a new model is advanced to describe the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment, and love. This new model posits that these positive emotions serve to broaden an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire, which in turn has the effect of building that individual's physical, intellectual, and social resources. Empirical evidence to support this broaden-and-build model of positive emotions is reviewed, and implications for emotion regulation and health promotion are discussed.
Article
Recent studies related to global terrorism have suggested the potential of posttraumatic growth (PTG) following experiences of terror exposure. However, investigations of whether psychological distress is reduced or increased by PTG in other trauma contexts have been inconsistent. Results from our studies conducted in New York following the attacks of 11 September 2001 and in Israel during recent tumultuous periods of violence and terrorism, the Al Aqsa Intifada, have found posttraumatic growth to be related to greater psychological distress, more right-wing political attitudes, and support for retaliatory violence. Only when individuals were deeply involved in translating growth cognitions to growth actions in our research on the forced disengagement of settlers from Gaza did we find positive benefit in posttraumatic growth. Findings are considered within the framework of a new formulation of action-focused growth.
Article
The purpose of this exploratory study was to describe the lived-experience of self-transcendence in women with Stage IV breast cancer. A phenomenological approach was chosen for the research design and analysis. Five women who had lived with metastatic disease from 2 to 7 years described experiences from which they derived an increased sense of self-worth, purpose in life, and interconnectedness with others. The self-transcendent experiences involved an effort on the part of the participants to reach out beyond themselves to help other women, to permit others to help them, or to "just accept" unchangeable situations. The results indicated that participants found meaning in their lives in the face of life-threatening illness. Although nurses can not be expected to create self-transcendent experiences for their patients, they may be able to establish and maintain conditions in which the phenomenon occurs.
Article
An integrative model of the conative process, which has important ramifications for psychological need satisfaction and hence for individuals' well-being, is presented. The self-concordance of goals (i.e., their consistency with the person's developing interests and core values) plays a dual role in the model. First, those pursuing self-concordant goals put more sustained effort into achieving those goals and thus are more likely to attain them. Second, those who attain self-concordant goals reap greater well-being benefits from their attainment. Attainment-to-well-being effects are mediated by need satisfaction, i.e., daily activity-based experiences of autonomy, competence, and relatedness that accumulate during the period of striving. The model is shown to provide a satisfactory fit to 3 longitudinal data sets and to be independent of the effects of self-efficacy, implementation intentions, avoidance framing, and life skills.
Article
The current study focused on a sample of adults (N = 67) experiencing bereavement following the loss of a child. The Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) was used to assess whether bereaved parents were able to perceive benefit from their trauma, and whether there were gender differences in perception of benefit. The impact of the following variables on the PTGI was also assessed: the nature and length of time since the loss, and the age and marital status of the bereaved. The results indicated that bereaved parents do perceive benefit from their loss. However, there was poor evidence to suggest perception of benefit along gender lines. Results also indicated a potential relation between greater perception of benefit and those bereaved through illness, and more perception of benefit for the longer the time elapsed since the bereavement. Lastly, there was a tendency for younger individuals and married respondents to obtain higher scores on the PTGI.
Article
In this paper I have attempted to identify some of the structural characteristics that are typical of the "psychological' environments of organisms. We have seen that an organism in an environment with these characteristics requires only very simple perceptual and choice mechanisms to satisfy its several needs and to assure a high probability of its survival over extended periods of time. In particular, no "utility function' needs to be postulated for the organism, nor does it require any elaborate procedure for calculating marginal rates of substitution among different wants.
Article
Passion is defined as a strong inclination toward an activity that people like, that they find important, and in which they invest time and energy. Two types of passion are proposed: obsessive and harmonious. Obsessive passion (OP) refers to a controlled internalization of an activity in one's identity that creates an internal pressure to engage in the activity that the person likes. Harmonious passion (HP) refers to an autonomous internalization that leads individuals to choose to engage in the activity that they like. HP promotes healthy adaptation whereas OP thwarts it by causing negative affect and rigid persistence. Results from four studies involving more than 900 participants from different populations supported the proposed conceptualization.
Article
Survival rates for women with early-stage breast cancer have increased significantly in recent years. However, little is known about the long-term impact of the cancer experience on women's psychological functioning. Theoretical and descriptive accounts suggest that cancer may evoke both perceptions of vulnerability and positive meaning, with potentially different effects on mental health. This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence and stability of these perceptions in a large sample of breast cancer survivors, to identify their antecedents, and to determine their impact on long-term adjustment. Breast cancer survivors (N = 763) were assessed longitudinally at 1 to 5 years and 5 to 10 years postdiagnosis. Participants completed surveys assessing perceptions of positive meaning and vulnerability and standard measures of psychological adjustment and quality of life. The majority of women reported positive changes in outlook and priorities as well as feelings of vulnerability at both assessment points. Consistent with hypotheses, results showed that perceptions of positive meaning and vulnerability were positively correlated and were both associated with factors that increased the disruptiveness of the cancer experience. Vulnerability was strongly associated with negative affect, whereas meaning was associated with positive affect in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Results suggest that a cancer diagnosis may lead to enduring feelings of vulnerability as well as positive changes in meaning; however, these perceptions have very different mental health correlates.
Article
This paper had three aims. The first was to review research carried out on the home advantage from 1992 to the present. The second was to examine the extent to which a conceptual framework proposed by Courneya and Carron (199217. Courneya , KS and Carron , AV . 1992. The home advantage in sport competitions: A literature review. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 14: 28–39. [CSA]View all references) was/is viable as a tool to highlight and organize an understanding of the home advantage. The final aim was to provide suggestions for future research.
Article
Stress is implicated in the development and progression of a broad array of mental and physical health disorders. Theory and research on the self suggest that self-affirming activities may buffer these adverse effects. This study experimentally investigated whether affirmations of personal values attenuate physiological and psychological stress responses. Eighty-five participants completed either a value-affirmation task or a control task prior to participating in a laboratory stress challenge. Participants who affirmed their values had significantly lower cortisol responses to stress, compared with control participants. Dispositional self-resources (e.g., trait self-esteem and optimism) moderated the relation between value affirmation and psychological stress responses, such that participants who had high self-resources and had affirmed personal values reported the least stress. These findings suggest that reflecting on personal values can keep neuroendocrine and psychological responses to stress at low levels. Implications for research on the self, stress processes, health, and interventions are discussed.
Values work in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Setting a course for behavioral treatment
  • K G Wilson
  • A R Murrell
Wilson, K.G. & Murrell, A.R. (2004). Values work in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Setting a course for behavioral treatment. In S.C. Hayes, V.M. Follette, & M. Linehan, (Eds.), The new behavior therapies: Expanding the cognitive behavioral tradition (pp. 120-151). New York: Guilford Press.
The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical application
  • P T P Wong
  • P S Fry
Wong, P.T.P., & Fry, P.S. (1998). The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical application. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Received: Fabruary 17, 2009
The benefits of frequent positive affect
  • S Lyubomirsky
  • L A King
  • E Diener
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L.A., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.