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An Investigation of Self-Authorship, Hope, and Meaning in Life Among Second-Year College Students Open Access

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An Investigation of Self-Authorship, Hope, and Meaning in Life Among Second-Year College StudentsUsing a quantitative, quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest nonequivalent (control) group design, this study explored the extent to which students' views of self, as measured by the Adult Trait Hope Scale, Meaning in Life Questionnaire, and Self-Authorship Survey, changed between the ends of the first and second years of college. In addition, this study examined the influence of a learning partnership academic advising program on second-year college students' development of self-authorship, hope, and meaning in life. Finally, this study explored possible relationships between the three constructs of hope, meaning in life, and self-authorship. When considering the total sample of respondents, students' views of self changed minimally over the 1-year period, with only 3 of 10 scales showing significant changes at the end of the second year versus the end of the first year of college. Students' levels of hope and agency declined significantly, while their problem-solving orientation showed a positive gain. A comparison of the learning partnership experimental group with a control group revealed no significant differences in gain scores as a result of the advising intervention. Additional pre-post studies of learning partnership model interventions are necessary in order to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of this model. The correlation analyses revealed a number of interesting and meaningful relationships between the Adult Trait Hope Scale, Meaning in Life Questionnaire, and Self-Authorship Survey.The findings of this study suggest that faculty and higher education practitioners should reinforce hopeful thinking, focus on increasing students' levels of agency, and encourage students to develop more sophisticated approaches to solving problems during the second year of college. Second, institutions of higher education should continue to implement programs that are intentionally designed to challenge and support second-year students when they are struggling to find their academic focus, questioning their sense of self, and working to build meaningful relationships with others. Overall, this study provides empirical evidence regarding students' pre- and posttest levels of hope, meaning in life, and self-authorship over a 1-year period, and may suggest the need for more sensitive quantitative instruments that are able to detect changes in these three areas of students' development.

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