• Self-Discrepancies, Symbolic Self-Completion, and the Role of Possessions in the Transition from High School to College

      Lochbaum, Ashlee (2011-03-16)
      The purpose of the current study was to explore some of the ways that possessions may be used symbolically to aid adjustment in first-semester freshmen who are transitioning to college. Based on prior literature, the transition to college is often accompanied by self-discrepancies which may be alleviated through symbolic self-completion using possessions. Overall, 219 students participated in this study. Results indicate that first-semester freshmen, as well as upperclassmen students, rely on the symbolic use of possessions in both managing negative affect and symbolizing the ideal college student identity. Furthermore, managing affect through the use of feeling regulators was found to best aid adjustment early in the transition, while symbolizing the college identity through the use of identity claims was found to better aid adjustment later in the transition. In addition, the importance of the college student identity was found to moderate this relationship. The results of this study add to the current literature on self-discrepancies and symbolic self-completion, as well as pointing to the importance of personal possessions in symbolizing the identity and facilitating adjustment in self-relevant domains.