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Personal Growth Initiative

Christine Robitschek and Cynthia Spering

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Personal growth initiative , a construct operationalized by Christine Robitschek, is intentional engagement in the process of trying to change oneself. It grew out of her work with students in a wilderness program, Outward Bound, which focuses on personal growth. Personal growth initiative includes cognitive and behavioral elements. The cognitive elements, such as believing that change within the self is possible, valuing this type of change, and knowing how to change the self function as precursors for the behavioral elements. The behavioral elements involve actually engaging in the behaviors that lead to changes in the self, when confronted with a need to change or when the person simply desires to change. Personal growth initiative exists on a continuum from low to high levels, with the individual's level of personal growth initiative determining, in part, how the person will respond in a situation that either requires the person to change or presents an opportunity for change and growth. For example, if a person with a high level of personal growth initiative wants to become more assertive, this person most likely will believe that it is possible to become more assertive (that the change is possible), will value this change, and will either know what steps to take to become more assertive or will take the initiative to find out how to become more assertive. Then this person ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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