Existential attitudes and eastern european adolescents' problem and health behaviors: highlighting the role of the search for meaning in life

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Abstract:

Although most of the attention paid to existential aspects of human life has focused on adults and the elderly, several recent arguments have been made for the centrality of existential issues in adolescents' lives (Burrow & Hill, 2011; Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003; Hacker, 1994; Steger, Bundick, & Yeager, 2012). These arguments call attention to the correspondence of existential issues with the most important developmental tasks of these formative years, namely, the shaping of an individual world view in conjunction with the development of an identity (Erikson, 1968). Descriptions of the early stages of identity formation as a process of exploration that precedes commitment (Marcia, 1966) underscore conceptual similarities with the existential process of searching for meaning in life (Steger, 2009). It has been proposed that the identity formation process supports the foundation of meaning in life (Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006)