Connection Between the Image of the World and Volunteering Experience among Russian Students

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Abstract

The relevance of the study of the conditions for the formation of the image of the world as an integral characteristic of the individual semantic system of the personality, that determines the interaction with the world and its life position, is due to the transitivity and high uncertainty of modern society. The aim of the study is to investigate the the image of the world in the current and future perspective among young people with different experience of participating in volunteer activities. The hypothesis was the assumption of differences in the image of the world in the time coordinates "present - future" among students with different experience in volunteering. The study used the Bipolar Semantic Differential method for two consecutive assessments of the image of the world: "The world now" and "The world in 5 years"; a questionnaire scale of basic beliefs, a questionnaire for participation in volunteer activities. The data consists of 211 Russian students aged from 18 till 23 (M=19.7; SD=1.61). Among them are 91 (43.1%) men and 120 (56.9%) women. Significant differences in world image in present and future are revealed. The image in present is contradictory, characterized mainly negatively as unpredictable, uncontrollable, anxious, complex. The image of "The World in 5 years" is positive, characterized as meaningful, active, fair and reliable (t-Student criteria, р ≤ 0.02). The connection between the characteristics of the image of the world and basic assumptions, primarily with the perception of the justice of the world, has been established. The positive role of participation in volunteer activities of student youth for the formation of a positive image of the world is proved: world nowadays is regarded as more active, and in future more controlled and benevolent (t-Student criteria, р ≤ 0.02, and significant (t-Student criteria, р = 0.043).

General Information

Keywords: world image, youth, volunteering, basic assumptions

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2023190110

Received: 18.01.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Molchanov S.V., Almazova O.V., Poskrebysheva N.N. Connection Between the Image of the World and Volunteering Experience among Russian Students. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2023. Vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 71–83. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2023190110.

Full text

Introduction

The modern world is a rapidly changing space of possibilities, meanings and values. Reflection upon the psychological consequences of world changes and high social uncertainty is today represented by a number of psychological studies [1]. However, recent socio-political events influence people’s ideas on the world, society, relationships, one’s place in today’s society greatly, which puts an emphasis on the relevance of researching world image among modern youth. Modern society is also characterized by high transitivity, creating a constantly changing space with a high level of uncertainty of the contents of events happening, and the unpredictability of the consequences of societal changes [3].

The multiplicity of macro- and micro-social spaces options arises, and these spaces require the estimation and development of an attitude towards the occurring changes from a person. One could speak of a rigid (crisis) form of transitivity in the modern world, which is characterized by rigid and instantaneous changes, followed by the growth of intra- and inter-group conflicts and contradictions. On an individual level, crisis transitivity is connected to more advanced requirements for a person’s emotional stability and resilience. We suggest that one of the reasons, as well as the one of the consequences of transitive transformations, is the worldview change, related to the reestimation of the value of life [4]. What is happening is the transformation of the ideas on the world, the image of the world, society’s opportunities and possibilities, its values and individual meanings.

In psychology, the “image of the world” varies in its interpretation and understanding. Several development directions of the ideas on the image of the world can be distinguished: the image of the world as a personal meanings system; the image of the world determined by its functions; the image of the world in the estimation of its development [13]. Let us focus on the works of A. Leontyev’s school, in which both the concept of a mental image and the concept of an image of the world are consistently revealed [6]. The mental image is viewed as: “...the product of practical life  connections and relationships between the subject and the objective world” [7]. In this idea of world image interpretation, much attention is paid to the meaning that mediates ideas about the world. The author designates this as “the fifth quasi-dimension”, which allows the objective world to receive subjective coloring through the semantic field space [6].

The nature of the semantic field is connected to the concept of “personal meaning”, which, as “the meaning of the meaning”, reflects “one’s personal life relationships” [2]. The realization of personal meanings of one’s own life determines the attitude towards oneself, the surrounding society and the world in general [7]. Thus, the image of the world includes a system of one’s personal meanings in their interaction with the outside world. In the works, the image of the world is a holistic view of the world, in which the specifically-historical, ecological, social, cultural background is reflected, and it is within its framework in which the overall human mental activity unravels [11].

The events happening in the surrounding society and human vital activity finds its reflection in the image of the world. According to the activity approach (A. Leontyev), human social practices determine one’s relationship with the society, and the features of the image of the world. Life changes and transformations differ depending on a person’s ability to control their behavior ranging from a conscious choice of types of activity to a passive encounter with the events that transform  the living conditions, which are also out of the person’s control. The image of the world, as the integral characteristic of an individual meaning system determining one’s interaction with the world, undergoes significant changes in transitivity. The adulting period, as the time of idealistic views of the world clashing with reality, sets a task to reassess the image of the world. We suppose that the correction of the world image will be significantly connected to one’s social practice experience, which also includes volunteering.

Volunteering activity as an accessible social practice is gaining more popularity in Russian society, uniting people of different social and professional groups. Volunteering implies willing human participation in activities aimed at helping people, animals, and nature. Federal Law on Volunteer Assistance, adopted in 2018, has legalized, simplified and organized the volunteer activities opportunities, which has significantly broadened the accessibility and attractiveness of this form of helping behavior. According to various data, the total number of volunteers with different levels of self-investment shows from 4,5 to 15 million people [5]. Psychological studies demonstrate the link between the participation in volunteering activities and the parameters of somatic and psychological well-being: volunteering promotes an increase in the level of somatic health and life satisfaction, a higher level of self-esteem and the experience of happiness, as well as a decrease of depression risks. There is a cumulative effect of participation in volunteer activities for the overall level of physical and mental health [8; 16; 17; 19; 20]. It is noted that the values determine youth’s choice of social activities [15].

Scientific novelty of researching the image of the world among youth in their adulting period in terms of transitivity of modern society is determined by the fact that despite the relative development of the “image of the world” construct in different theoretical approaches, up until this moment, psychological features of youth’s (with different experiences with social practices) image of the world in the “the world today – the world in the future” time dimension have not been studied. Volunteering could be approached as a means of socially-oriented activity, which determines the space for personal self-discovery and acts as a meaningful condition for the image of the world formation among youth entering their adulthood. In our research, operationalization of the image of the world is implemented through psychosemantic description [10] and personal world assumptions system [18].

Methods

The purpose of the research is to study the features of the image of the world in volunteering student youth in its actuality and future perspective.

The research hypothesis suggests the following: there are differences in world images in the “The present – The past” time coordinates in youth with different volunteering experiences. The positive world perception manifesting in the world image is more characteristic of young people participating in volunteering activities.

Research tasks:

  • to study the features of the world image among student youth entering their adulthood;
  • to conduct comparative analysis of the world image in “The present – The past” time coordinates;
  • to study the connection between the image of the world and volunteering experience among student youth entering adulthood.

In this research, the following methods were used:

  1. “Bipolar Semantic Differential” method, consisting of 11 adjective pairs, was used for two consecutive assessments of the image of the world: “The world now”, “The world in 5 years”. The adjective pairs included the following characteristics: stable – unpredictable, just – unjust, secure – unreliable, controllable – chaotic, friendly – hostile, divided – whole, calm – anxious, precious – useless, mindful – mindless, active – passive, simple – complex. The “minuses” in these assessments refer to the choice of the first adjective out of the pair, and “pluses” indicate the choice of the second one.
  2. The World Assumptions scale developed by R. Janoff-Bulman and adapted by M. Padun, A. Kotel’nikova. [18]. This method estimates 5 world assumptions forming the core of our subjective world: “ the friendliness of the outside world”, “the justness of the outside world”, “the positivity of self-image”, “faith in luck”, “belief in control over life”.
  3. A questionnaire aimed at the identification of attitudes towards volunteering activities and personal volunteering experience acquisition.

211 Russian students, ages from 18 to 23 years old took part in the research. (M=19.,7; SD=1.,61), with 91 (43.,1%) male and 120 (56.9%) female participants. The research was conducted in direct group interaction conditions. The data was collected in May of the year 2022. The data processing was carried out using the SPSS V.23.0. statistical information processing program. Various methods of statistical data processing were used, including the Kolmogorov-Smirnov criterion, t-Student criterion for both independent samples, and Pearson correlation coefficient.

Results

First of all, let us focus on student youth’s assumptions of “The world now” and “The world in 5 years”. Table 1 shows the distribution of the respondents choosing different polarities (positive or negative) of  “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” in each adjective pair.

Table 1

The distribution of the respondents choosing different polarities (positive or negative) of  “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” in each adjective pair.

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/

Group

The world now

The world in 5 years

-

0

+

-

0

+

Stable – Unpredictable

27%

10%

63%

40%

11%

49%

Just – Unjust

41%

20%

39%

50%

19%

31%

Secure – Unreliable

41%

11%

49%

56%

13%

31%

Controllable – Chaotic

35%

19%

46%

49%

15%

36%

Friendly – Hostile

45%

20%

35%

58%

17%

25%

Divided – Whole

46%

19%

35%

32%

17%

51%

Calm – Anxious

28%

16%

56%

55%

14%

31%

Precious– Useless

66%

22%

22%

70%

19%

11%

Mindful – Mindless

65%

17%

18%

75%

9%

16%

Active – Passive

67%

17%

16%

76%

13%

11%

Simple – Complex

20%

13%

67%

34%

19%

47%

 

We note that “The world now” is viewed by most respondents in a contradictory manner. On one hand, it is unpredictable, unreliable, chaotic, divided, anxious and complex, but on the other, it is friendly, precious, mindful and active. The “just – unjust” assumptions are not pronounced by any polarity. We also note that according to the respondents, the “mindful” and “active” categories have turned out to be universal for “The world in 5 years” image, as no less than 75% of research participants have chosen these polarities [20]. No universal polarities were revealed for “The world now” image, which shows the lack of unanimity on this topic.

With the help of Kolmogorov-Smirnov criterion it was established that the distribution of students’ estimates on the “World Assumptions scale” and by separate adjective pairs of Bipolar Semantic Differential is normal.

Let us focus on the presence of statistically significant differences for “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” images. In Table 2, the averages, medians and standard deviations of “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” estimates are given by all adjective pairs, along with the results of these estimates (t-Student criterion for paired samples). Figure 1 shows the diagram of the estimates’ range.

Table 2

Descriptive statistics for estimates of "The world now" and "The world in 5 years" for all pairs of adjectives; differences between them

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/Group

The world now

The world in 5 years    

Differences

M

Me

SD

M

Me

SD

t

p

Stable – Unpredictable

0,81

1,00

1,999

0,18

0,00

2,196

4,669

<0,001

Just – Unjust

-0,15

0,00

1,924

-0,57

0,00

1,890

3,632

<0,001

Secure – Unreliable

-0,01

0     ,00

1     ,992

-0     ,63

-1     ,00

1     ,924

5     ,517

<0     ,001

Controllable – Chaotic

0     ,14

0     ,00

1     ,789

-0     ,28

0     ,00

1     ,850

3     ,704

<0     ,001

Friendly – Hostile

-0     ,35

0     ,00

1     ,834

-0     ,82

-1     ,00

1     ,801

4     ,354

<0     ,001

Divided – Whole

-0     ,16

0     ,00

1     ,865

0     ,43

1     ,00

1     ,859

-4     ,136

<0     ,001

Calm – Anxious

0     ,50

1     ,00

1     ,888

-0     ,53

-1     ,00

1     ,888

7     ,315

<0     ,001

Precious – Useless

-1     ,10

-1     ,00

1     ,566

-1     ,24

-1     ,00

1     ,607

1     ,590

0     ,113

Mindful – Mindless

-0     ,94

-1     ,00

1     ,627

-1     ,17

-1     ,00

1     ,698

2     ,350

0     ,020

Active – Passive

-1     ,14

-1     ,00

1     ,723

-1     ,34

-2     ,00

1     ,573

2     ,329

0     ,021

Simple – Complex

1     ,01

1     ,00

1     ,853

0     ,29

0     ,00

2     ,058

5     ,819

<0     ,001

 

The results show that “The world in 5 years” image is viewed by research participants as much more stale, just, secure, controllable, friendly, whole, calm, mindful and simple, compared to “The world now”.

For every parameter identified, statistically significant differences were obtained. For “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” “precious – useless” estimates, there is no difference. The world is perceived as precious from a modern point of view, and in regards to the future. Thus, “The world in 5 years” is seen by participants as a more positive place, compared to “The world today”.

The world assumptions scale reflects a personal worldview, connected to one's own image of the world. Base world representations (assumptions) are personal constructs formed into a system of hierarchically organized cognitive-emotional implicit representations, which determine human behavior and interpersonal relationships. As shown before, base assumptions play the role as the value component of psychological well-being [20]. This is the basis of development of personal world image.

With the help of the world assumptions scale, estimates on “Outside world’s friendliness”, “Outside world’s justness”, “Self-image positivity”, “Faith in luck”, “Belief in control over life” scales have been obtained. Let us conduct a correlational analysis consecutively between “The world now” (11 adjective pairs) and personal world assumptions (Pearson correlation coefficient). Significant connections stronger than 0-2 have been highlighted.

Table 3

The connection between “The world now” and personal world assumptions

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/ WAS scale

WAS 1

WAS 2

WAS 3

WAS 4

WAS 5

Stable – Unpredictable

r

p

-0     ,163*

0     ,018

-0     ,234**

<0     ,001

-0     ,099

0     ,153

-0     ,104

0     ,133

-0     ,091

0     ,189

Just – Unjust

r

p

-0     ,183*

0     ,008

-0     ,284**

<0     ,001

-0     ,232**

0     ,001

-0     ,190**

0     ,006

-0     ,226**

0     ,001

Secure – Unreliable

r

p

-0     ,183*

0,008

-0     ,236**

0,001

-0     ,217**

0,002

-0     ,085

0,218

-0,183**

0,008

Controllable – Chaotic

r

p

0,004

0,957

-0,131

0,058

-0,098

0,155

-0,101

0,143

-0,076

0,271

Friendly – Hostile

r

p

-0,238**

<0,001

-0,261**

<0,001

-0,213**

0,002

-0,132

0,056

-0,136*

0,048

Divided – Whole

r

p

0,118

0,089

0,212**

0,002

0,062

0,371

0,004

0,953

0,062

0,368

Calm – Anxious

r

p

-0,104

0     ,134

-0,201**

0     ,003

-0,148*

0     ,031

-0,137*

0     ,046

-0     ,142*

0     ,039

Valuable – Useless

r

p

-0     ,149*

0     ,030

-0     ,265**

<0     ,001

-0     ,316**

<0     ,001

-0     ,247**

<0     ,001

-0     ,205**

0     ,003

Mindful – Mindless

r

p

-0     ,175*

0     ,011

-0     ,218**

0     ,001

-0     ,267**

<0     ,001

-0     ,226

0     ,001

-0     ,271**

<0     ,001

Active – Passive

r

p

-0     ,142*

0     ,039

-0     ,151*

0     ,028

-0     ,253**

<0     ,001

-0     ,197**

0     ,004

-0     ,177*

0     ,010

Simple – Complex

r

p

-0     ,120

0     ,082

-0     ,219**

0     ,001

-0     ,161*

0     ,019

-0     ,046

0,510

-0     ,057

0     ,410

Comment:WAS scales: WAS 1 — outside world’s friendliness; WAS 2 — outside world’s justness; WAS 3 — self-image positivity; WAS 4 — faith in luck; WAS 5 — belief in control over life: «*» — significance less than 0,05; «**» — significance less than 0,001.

The obtained results allow us (taking into account the connections with their significance greater than 0,2 in module only) to state that all identified connections are direct: the more positive “The world now” is seen as, the greater the world assumptions estimates are. “The world now: estimates have the strongest connection with the sense of justness of the outside world (9 out of 11 adjective pairs, except for “controllable – chaotic”, “active – passive” pairs). As data shows, the world assumptions estimates have the greatest connection with “The world now” estimates by the following adjective pairs: “precious – useless” and “mindful – mindless” (4 world assumptions out of 5), and the weakest connection with the “controllable – chaotic” adjective pair (no connections).

In Table 4, the result of correlational analysis of “The world in 5 years” (11 adjective pairs) and personal world assumptions (Pearson correlation coefficient) is demonstrated. Significant connections greater than 0,2 have been highlighted.

Table 4

The connection between “The world in 5 years” estimates and personal world assumptions

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/ WAS scale

WAS 1

WAS 2

WAS 3

WAS 4

WAS 5

Stable – Unpredictable

r

p

-0     ,160*

0     ,020

-0     ,279**

<0     ,001

-0     ,186**

0     ,007

-0     ,118

0     ,088

-0     ,128

0     ,064

Just – Unjust

r

p

-0     ,263**

<0     ,001

-0     ,396**

<0     ,001

-0     ,324**

<0     ,001

-0     ,216**

0     ,002

-0     ,295**

<0     ,001

Secure – Unreliable

r

p

-0     ,242**

<0     ,001

-0     ,318**

<0     ,001

-0     ,236**

<0     ,001

-0     ,209**

0     ,002

-0     ,185**

0     ,007

Controllable – Chaotic

r

p

-0     ,105

0     ,128

-0     ,223**

0     ,001

-0     ,185**

0     ,007

-0     ,265**

<0     ,001

-0     ,187**

0     ,007

Friendly – Hostile

r

p

-0     ,322**

<0     ,001

-0     ,370**

<0     ,001

-0     ,265**

<0     ,001

-0     ,140*

0     ,042

-0     ,182**

0     ,008

Divided – Whole

r

p

0     ,105

0     ,130

0     ,202**

0     ,004

0     ,054

0     ,436

0     ,145*

0     ,035

0     ,157*

0     ,023

Calm – Anxious

r

p

-0     ,140*

0     ,042

-0     ,334**

<0     ,001

-0     ,185**

0     ,007

-0     ,183**

0,008

-0     ,223**

0     ,001

Valuable – Useless

r

p

-0     ,206**

0     ,003

-0     ,291**

<0     ,001

-0     ,217**

0     ,002

-0     ,296**

<0     ,001

-0     ,269**

<0     ,001

Mindful – Mindless

r

p

-0     ,206**

0     ,003

-0     ,268**

<0     ,001

-0     ,208**

0     ,002

-0     ,271**

<0     ,001

-0,273**

<0     ,001

Active – Passive

r

p

-0     ,212**

0     ,002

-0     ,231**

0     ,001

-0     ,276**

<0     ,001

-0     ,178*

0     ,010

-0     ,220**

0     ,001

Simple – Complex

r

p

-0     ,137*

0     ,048

-0     ,212**

0     ,002

-0     ,197**

0     ,004

-0     ,038

0,587

-0     ,074

0     ,286

Comment:           WAS scales: WAS 1 — outside world’s friendliness; WAS 2 — outside world’s justness; WAS 3 — self-image positivity; WAS 4 — faith in luck; WAS 5 — belief in control over life: «*» — significance less than 0,05; «**» — significance less than 0,001. 

It has been revealed that (taking into account the connections with their significance greater than 0,2 in module only) all the connections are direct. The more positive “The world in 5 years” is seen as, the greater are the personal world assumptions estimates. “The world in 5 years” estimates have the strongest connection with the sense of “justness of the outside world” (11 pairs out of 11), and the weakest – with the “faith in luck” estimate (5 pairs out of 11). World assumptions estimates have the greatest connection to “The world in 5 years” estimates by the following adjective pairs: “just – unjust”, “precious – useless”, and “mindful – mindless” (4 world assumptions out of 5), and the weakest connection is associated with “stable – unpredictable”, “divided – whole”, “simple – complex” pairs (1 world assumption out of 5).

So, we can note that personal world assumptions are more connected to “The world in 5 years” estimates, than “The world now” ones.

Let us analyze the role of volunteering practice in basic world assumptions and “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” images. In our sample, 126 (59     ,7%) students have and 85 (40     ,3%) do not have any volunteering experience.

In Table 5, the averages, medians and standard deviations of estimates of students with or without volunteering experience are presented, as well as the difference between the results of the analysis of the estimates differences (t-Student criterion for independent samples).

Figure 1 shows the diagram of world assumptions estimates range for highlighted student groups.

Table 5

Descriptive statistics for world assumptions estimates in students with and without volunteering experiences; estimates differences

(N = 211)

WAS scale/Group

Has experience

No experience

Difference

M

Me

SD

M

Me

SD

t

p

Outside world’s friendliness

3     ,74

3     ,90

0     ,782

3     ,56

3     ,60

0     ,880

-1     ,528

0     ,128

Outside world’s justness

3     ,74

3     ,70

0     ,681

3     ,45

3     ,50

0     ,807

-2     ,796

0     ,006

Self-image positiveness

4     ,24

4     ,35

0     ,913

4     ,19

4     ,10

0     ,889

-0     ,409

0     ,683

Faith in luck

4     ,15

4     ,10

0     ,677

3     ,87

3     ,90

0     ,781

-2     ,753

0     ,006

Belief in control over life

4     ,08

4     ,10

0     ,595

3     ,96

3     ,90

0     ,655

-1     ,377

0     ,170

Base world representations (assumptions) are personal constructs formed into a system of hierarchically organized cognitive-emotional implicit representations, which determine human attitude towards self, behavior and interpersonal relationships. The results allow us to confirm high or average base world assumptions estimates. The highest estimates among all participants have been discovered by “Self-image positivity”, “Belief in control over life” and “Faith in luck” scales. The lowest – by the “Outside world’s justness”, and “Outside world’s friendliness”. It has also been revealed that world assumptions estimates are higher throughout all scales among students with volunteering experience, compared to those without it. Statistically significant differences in world assumptions estimates have been obtained for the “Outside world’s justness”(р=0,006) and “Faith in luck” (р=0,006) scales. Students who have volunteering experience see the world as more just and believe that luck follows them in life, compared to students who never participated in volunteering activities.

Fig. 1. Diagram of world assumptions estimates range for students with and without volunteering experience

Table 6 shows averages, medians and standard deviation for “The world now” estimates by all adjective pairs among students with and without volunteering experience, and the results of comparing the estimates (t-Student criterion for independent samples).

Table 6

Descriptive statistics for “The world now” estimates by students with and without volunteering experience; the estimates difference

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/Group

Has experience

No experience

Difference

M

Me

SD

M

Me

SD

t

p

Stable – Unpredictable

0,82

1,00

1,945

0,79

1,00

2,088

0,104

0,917

Just – Unjust

-0,13

0,00

1,897

-0,19

0,00

1,973

0,226

0,821

Secure – Unreliable

-0,03

0,00

1,963

0,01

0,00

2,044

-0,155

0,877

Controllable – Chaotic

0,02

0,00

1,826

0,32

0,00

1,727

-1,172

0,243

Friendly – Hostile

-0,49

0,00

1,836

-0,14

0,00

1,620

-1,366

0,173

Divided – Whole

-0,05

0,00

1,832

-0,33

0,00

1,911

1,077

0,283

Calm – Anxious

0,52

1,00

1,832

0,48

1,00

1,980

0,126

0,900

Precious – Useless

-1,18

-1,00

1,562

-0,98

-1,00

1,573

-0,937

0,350

Mindful – Mindless

-0,99

-1,00

1,656

-0,86

-1,00

1,590

-0,582

0,561

Active – Passive

-1,37

-2,00

1,724

-0,80

-1,00

1,675

-2,395

0,017

Simple – Complex

1,10

2,00

1,826

0,89

1,00

1,896

0,773

0,441

 

Comparative analysis of the image of the world in “present” time dimension demonstrates a significant similarity of estimates from respondents with and without volunteering experience. “The world now” image is contradictory for most research participants, it is unpredictable, unreliable, chaotic, divided, anxious and complex, but at the same time it is friendly, precious, mindful and active. The ideas of justness or unjustness of the world are not pronounced in any polarity. Statistically significant differences have been revealed only in one characteristic of the present world. The activity of the world is valued more highly by the students with volunteering experience(р=0     ,017). For them, “The world now” is a far busier place, leading to transformations, it is more active than for students without volunteering experience.

In Table 7 averages, medians and standard deviations of “The world in 5 years” estimates by all adjective pairs among students with and without volunteering experience have been demonstrated, along with the results of comparing these estimates (t-Student criterion for both independent samples).

 

Table 7

Descriptive statistics for “The world in 5 years” estimates by students with and without volunteering experience; the estimates difference

(N = 211)

Adjective pair/Group

Has experience

No experience

Difference

M

Me

SD

M

Me

SD

t

p

Stable – Unpredictable

0,24

1,00

2,264

0,09

0,00

2,102

0,466

0,642

Just – Unjust

-0,66

-0,50

1,812

-0,44

0,00

2,003

-0,842

0,401

Secure – Unreliable

-0,80

-1,00

1,846

-0,36

-1,00

2,017

-1,624

0,106

Controllable – Chaotic

-0,52

-1,00

1,765

0,06

0,00

1,929

-2,234

0,027

Friendly – Hostile

-1,05

-1,00

1,706

-0,48

-1,00

1,894

-2,258

0,025

Divided – Whole

0,60

1,00

1,821

0,19

0,00

1,899

1,565

0,119

Calm – Anxious

-0,67

-1,00

1,850

-0,31

0,00

1,934

-1,394

0,165

Precious – Useless

-1,41

-2,00

1,519

-0,98

-1,00

1,704

-1,947

0,043

Mindful – Mindless

-1,31

-2,00

1,622

-0,95

-1,00

1,792

-1,501

0,135

Active – Passive

-1,53

-2,00

1,500

-1,06

-1,00

1,643

-2,161

0,032

Simple – Complex

0,25

0,00

2,070

0,35

0,00

2,051

-0,369

0,712

We can see that the image of the world in the “future” time dimension is also contradictory for the respondents. “The world in 5 years” may be perceived as unpredictable, divided and complex, but it is also just, safe, controllable, friendly, whole, calm, precious, mindful and active. We also note that for “The world in 5 years”, the “mindful” and “active” categories have been universal, as no less than 75% of research participants chose these polarities. Statistically significant differences by four categories of the future world image have been revealed: “controllable – chaotic” pair (р=0,027), “friendly – hostile” scale (р=-0,32). Students with volunteering experience see “The world in 5 years” as much more controllable, friendly, precious and active, compared to students with no volunteering experience.

So, the significant differences in “The world now” image among participants with and without volunteering experience, concerns only one adjective pair, while “The world in 5 years” concerns 4 of them.

Discussion of results

The comparative analysis of world assumptions in students with volunteering experience and without it allows us to conclude that students who participated in volunteering activities have a more positive image of the world, they see the world as a more just, lucky place, thus, with many opportunities for success.

The analysis of results of the Bipolar Semantic Differential method demonstrates a high level of inconsistency in the “present” time dimension among student youth. The combination of such negative world characteristics as unpredictability, unreliability, randomness, disunity, anxiety and complexity, with such positive characteristics as friendliness, preciousness, mindfulness and activeness, reflects transitivity and high social uncertainty. On the сontrary, “The world in 5 years” is characterized to be positive, yet unpredictable. The future world image is seen by the respondents as just, reliable, controllable, friendly, whole, calm, precious, mindful and active, but also complex.

Statistical significances of the differences in the world images in “present” and “past” by all characteristics show a prevalence of positive characteristics of the world in the “future” (t-Student criterion р≤0.,02), which also signifies positive expectations and hopes in regards to the necessity and unavoidability of accepting world transformations.

This is also confirmed by comparative analysis of the present world and future world images, the results of which are demonstrated in Figure 2.

 Fig. 2. Diagram of the range of  “The world now” and “The world in 5 years” estimates

The results of correlational analysis of world assumptions and world image characteristics revealed with the application of Bipolar Psychosemantic Differential have shown the greatest connection of most positive characteristics of the world image in the “present” and in the “future” with the scale of world justness, and the weakest – with the world mindfulness and activeness scales. It is the sense of the outside world’s justness or unjustness that largely determines the overall assessment and image of the world, both in the present and in 5 years. And the sense of the outside world’s friendliness is largely linked to the assessments of the world in the future, rather than in the present. With this, a significant connection between practically all world assumptions scales and separate world characteristics has been discovered, which allows us to consider world assumptions the core of the world image.

The research data analysis generally confirms the hypothesis of differences between the world image in “the present – the past” time coordinates in student youth with various volunteering experiences. Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate range diagrams for “The world now” (Fig. 3) and “The world in 5 years” (Fig. 4) estimates by all adjective pairs in students with or without volunteering experience. These diagrams show the confirmation of the given hypothesis.

 

Fig. 3. Range diagram for “The world now” estimates in students with and without volunteering experience


Fig. 4. Range diagram for “The world in 5 years” estimates in students with and without volunteering experience

Students with volunteering experience perceive the present world as more active and more controllable, friendly (t-Student criterion  р ≤ 0,02) and precious (t-Student criterion  р = 0,043) in the future. Student youth that partakes in volunteering has more defined world assumptions on the justness of the outside world, along with faith in luck. Positive world perception manifested in psychosemantic world image description is more typical for students who participate in volunteering activities. The obtained results confirm the hypothesis of the connection between volunteering experience and the world image. An active personal position in social space, volunteering experience and helping others, acts committed in the name of social well-being become the source of positive world image formation, with the world seen as secure, yet transforming, just and personally controllable to an extent, which becomes the condition for the formation of a positive image of the world in the future.

Conclusion

The image of the world among student youth in the “The present – The future” system of time coordinates has significant differences. The image of “The world now” is contradictory, is of mostly negative modality and is characterized as unpredictable and anxious, unreliable, out-of-control, chaotic and divided. The positive traits of the world in the present are the following: value, mindfulness and activeness. The image of “The world in 5 years”, on the contrary, is characterized by positive modality, high mindfulness and activity, and is perceived by the student youth as just, secure, friendly and calm, controllable to an extent, but complex and unpredictable. A positive world image indicates an optimistic future outlook on the basis of adoption of the attitude to universality of activity and meaningfulness as key characteristics of the image of the world.

The discovered tendency is most pronounced in student youth with volunteering experience. The world assumptions and, firstly, the perception of the world’s justness form the core of the modern student youth’s world image. The research results generally confirm the put out hypothesis of the importance of volunteering experience in positive world image formation, which allows us to consider youth’s participation in volunteering activities as the base of an active individual life position in relation to the social and natural world, as well as the self-determination and self-development resource potential. 

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Information About the Authors

Sergey V. Molchanov, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5147-3551, e-mail: s-molch2001@mail.ru

Olga V. Almazova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Developmental Psychology Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8852-4076, e-mail: almaz.arg@gmail.com

Nataliya N. Poskrebysheva, PhD in Psychology, associate professor, Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9124-530X, e-mail: pskr@inbox.ru

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