The Effect of the Student Identity on Prosocial Values, Intentions, and Well-Being

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This dissertation aims to address a gap in the literature regarding the effect of the achievement-focused student identity on prosocial values and behaviors, specifically among students who predominantly value prosociality. Largely, research on identity and motivation addresses academic outcomes and psychological well-being outcomes (Settles, Sellers, & Damas, 2002; Jaret & Reitzes, 2009) while more recent literature that has addressed prosocial motives (Yeager, et al., 2015) has solely assessed academic performance outcomes. Drawing upon values literature (Schwartz, 1992) it can be inferred that the achievement-focused student identity may inhibit or decrease prosocial values and behaviors. Further, this may be particularly deleterious for the psychological well-being of students who hold prosociality as a central guiding feature of their self-concept. First, I examine whether certain social identities tend to have a higher tendency towards prosociality (Study 1). Second, I assess how a salient achievement-focused identity affects student behaviors (with particular attention to more prosocially inclined students) during a stressful academic situation (Study 2a & 2b). Next, I devise a novel measure to assess the centrality of prosociality to the self and perceptions of conflict between prosocial values and achievement-focused settings (Study 3). Then, I assess how a salient achievement-focused identity impacts prosocial values and behaviors, and offer a new "integrated" approach to the student identity. Last, I assess how this expanded and "integrated" identity influences students' academic perceptions and psychological well-being, specifically for those students who are more prosocially inclined (e.g., women and lower income) as well as for those who perceive higher levels of prosocial-achievement conflict (Study 4).

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  • 02/26/2018
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