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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


Personality Development and the Quality of Solitude

Ishanov S.A., Post-graduate student of psychology Department, National research University «Higher school of Economics», Moscow, Russia,
Osin E.N., Ph.D. in Psychology, associate professor, Psychology department, leading research fellow, International laboratory of positive psychology of personality and motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia,
Kostenko V.Yu., research fellow, International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics,
The paper focuses on the associations between personality development and qualitative characteristics of experiences in solitude. The authors review recent studies of solitude and discuss the differences between solitude and loneliness. A mixed-methods empirical study of solitude experiences using an online sample (N=204) is presented. The respondents reported the quantity of time they typically spend in solitude and described their subjective experiences and typical activities during this time. They also completed Multidimensional Inventory of Loneliness Experience (MILE), Existence Scale (ES), and Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT). Ego development measured by WUSCT showed weak positive associations with positive solitude (MILE), self-transcendence (ES), the prevalence of positive emotions in solitude, and a higher variety of activities in solitude (particularly, meditation, creative activities, physical activity), based on content analysis. The findings indicate that individuals at advanced ego development stages are less likely to suffer from loneliness when alone, but to accept the situations of solitude, endorse them, and use them in creative ways. The findings explain the individual differences in the experiences associated with solitude and are discussed in the context of existential and cultural-historical approach.

Keywords: solitude, positive loneliness, personal development, ego development stages, existence scale, multidimensional inventory of loneliness experience

Column: The Problem Of Development


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