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Self-concept clarity’s role in meaning in life among American college students: A latent growth approach

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Meaning in life (MIL) is a fundamental building block of well-being, and MIL theory heavily emphasizes the importance of using self-knowledge to identify what makes life meaningful and to select suitable purposes to pursue in life. However, few studies have investigated this important theoretical point. The purpose of the present study was to investigate individual growth trajectories of self-knowledge, measured with a construct of self-concept clarity (SCC), and MIL. This study also examined whether the change of SCC predicts the change pattern of MIL using cross-domain latent growth analyses, controlling for the level of perceived stress. A longitudinal data-set with seventh measurement points was gathered from a total of 285 college students at a large Midwest university in the US during the period of 8¬†weeks. On average, a student’s levels of MIL and SCC tend to show a small amount of linear increase during the first semester of college, with individual differences in patterns of change. From a change perspective, SCC significantly predicted the sense of MIL, supporting the significance of having a clear self-view in perceiving life as more meaningful.
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Keywords: Self-concept clarity; growth modeling; meaning in life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Publication date: March 3, 2016

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