Mattering and psychological well-being

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

R. Jay Turner - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Scott Schieman - Committee Member


This dissertation examined the relationship between mattering and psychological well-being. The concept of mattering was developed by Morris Rosenberg. It is defined as perceptions of significance of self to others. According to Rosenberg, mattering consists of four sub-constructs: attention, importance, dependence and ego-extension. In this study two research questions are addressed: (1) Is mattering associated with psychological well-being? And (2) To what extent does mattering make unique contributions to both depressive symptomatology and self-esteem in the context of other established risk and protective factors. The other personal and social resources employed in analyses are interpersonal dependency, mastery, and social support.The data for these analyses were originally collected to establish community-based estimates of psychiatric morbidity. The design of the parent study consisted of two waves of interviews with a representative sample of English speaking adult residents selected from Toronto, Canada. Data for this study were collected between October 1990 and June 1991.Crossectional and longitudinal results from this study support the hypothesis that mattering is positively associated with psychological well-being. Mattering is significantly and negatively associated with depressive symptomatology and significantly and positively associated with self-esteem. These associations are replicated in both crossectional and longitudinal analyses. For both outcomes a large part of the association is explained by other variables, but a significant direct effect of mattering remains. Collectively, these results show the importance of mattering for depression and self-esteem.


Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, General

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