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"Munasisa" (emptiness) : A developmental study of existential emptiness in adolescence

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  • むなしさ : 青年期の実存的空虚感に関する発達的一研究
  • ムナシサ セイネンキ ノ ジツゾンテキ クウキョカン ニ カンスル ハッタツテ

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Abstract

The sentiment of existential "emptiness" is characteristic of adolescence. The purpose of this research is to investigate the structure of the experienced emptiness, and to explore its developmental change in early, middle and late adolescence. In the preliminary survey, 54 college students responded to the open-ended questions about the associational words of "empty", opposite meaning words, and their daily experiences of feelings of emptiness. On the base of these results, a "munasisa" (emptiness) scale was constructed with 74 items (finally 54 items), then 128 college students rated this scale. Next, this scale was administered to 82 junior high school and 87 high school students to measure the experienced levels of emptiness. The data of all 297 samples were analysed by using factor-analytic technique, and as its result, three factors were found. These factors were named (1) sense of purposelessness (inactivity), (2) loneliness, (3) negative views of self. ANOVA revealed that (1) and (3) were declined with age, but (2) had no significant age effect. Sex difference was seen only in the third factor items, and no significant interaction was found. The results were discussed in relation to the state of self in adolescence.

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