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Dev Psychol. 2015 Oct;51(10):1395-406. doi: 10.1037/dev0000034. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

"Now I know I can make a difference": Generativity and activity engagement as predictors of meaning making in adolescents and emerging adults.

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Department of Psychology, Bishop's University.
School of Social and Community Services, Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning.


This study examined generativity (concern for future generations as a legacy of the self) and activity engagement as predictors of meaning making in young people's personal accounts of their key activity experiences. We elicited stories regarding events within participants' "most engaging activity," self-reports on generativity, and behavioral participation and psychological engagement in activities in 2 separate samples: an emerging adult sample and an adolescent sample. The stories were coded for meaning making, defined as degree of insight into individuals' understanding of themselves or the world (McLean & Pratt, 2006). Psychological engagement, but not behavioral participation, was positively associated with meaning making. Moreover, generativity was significantly and positively related to psychological engagement, and predicted meaning making, even after controlling for psychological engagement. Findings suggest that different types of activities can offer a potential context for fostering early generativity and meaning making, and that generativity in adolescence and emerging adulthood is related to the development of insight and meaning making.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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