Value crisis: Affective organization of personal meanings
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SourceJournal of Research in Personality, 30, 4, (1996), pp. 457-482
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
Journal of Research in Personality
The focus of this article is on the specific affective organization of the self in a value crisis. Whereas the self is conceptualized as an organized system of personal meanings, a value crisis is defined as a disorganization of this system. Personal meanings were investigated using a self-confrontation method that is sensitive to the affective properties of personal meanings and their organization into a composite whole. Three groups of students were compared, one high, one medium, and one low in value crisis. Results indicate that the high crisis group had a lower level of intensity of affect referring to self-enhancement, a lower intensity level of affect referring to contact and union with the other, and a lower level of positive affect in comparison with the other groups. In addition, negative meanings were more generalizing in the self of subjects in crisis, whereas positive meanings were more generalizing in the self system of those not in crisis. Moreover, people in crisis showed more discontinuity between their past and future than those not in crisis. Special emphasis was placed on the specific affective organization of subjects in crisis. Two idiographic case studies were presented to illustrate meaningful exceptions to the rule. It was concluded that value crisis is an "in-between state" involving the risk of disorganization of the self, but at the same time including opportunities for innovative self-development.
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