This New Whole: An Exploration into the Factors of Self-Authorship in College Students

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2007-06-04

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Over the past few years, self-authorship has become one of the most promising concepts and theories to emerge in college student development literature (Baxter Magolda, 2001b; Kegan, 1994). Despite an increasing amount of scholarship on this topic, the understanding of self-authorship remains incomplete, especially with regard to a clear comprehension of its structure, dimensions, and components.

Using a maximum likelihood exploratory factor analysis with oblique rotation to study the responses of over 3,500 college students at 52 institutions of higher education on 89 variables associated with self-authorship, this investigation identified eight, highly intercorrelated factors or lines of development associated with self-authorship: (1) Interdependence; (2) Engaging Diverse Views; (3) Dissonance and Change; (4) Cognitive Complexity; (5) Engaged Responsibility; (6) Personal and Communal Efficacy; (7) Congruence; and (8) Openness to New Ideas and Experiences. Implications of these results are outlined for current self-authorship theory, higher education policy and practice, and future research.

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