Educational Leadership


Personal construal of life tasks: Those who struggle for independence

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Publication Date



American Psychological Association


Life tasks serve as an avenue for individuals to give personal meaning to their lives and to organize personal effort and activities. The present data, from a longitudinal study of the transition to college life, demonstrate how construals of life tasks can help to illuminate individuals' activity choices and affective experience of daily life activities. Ss who were absorbed in the task of "being on my own, away from family," also invested their academic activities with special significance. They experienced more stress and less satisfaction from their (considerable) academic accomplishments than did those who framed their tasks in more concrete terms. Experience-sampling data showed that activity choices followed from life task concerns, even when such activities were particularly anxiety-provoking. Discussion considers how similar life task themes may be enacted differently in other contexts.