The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 31

Place Identity and Student Flourishing

function as safe havens during times of distress and secure bases from which to recover.
Second, place identity is characterized by the
extent to which a setting reflects, reinforces,
and communicates the identity of its resident
(Belk, 1992; Gosling et al., 2008; Proshansky
et al., 1983). By marking their environments
with decorations, alterations, and behavioral
residue (Altman, 1975; Gosling et al., 2002;
Hansen & Altman, 1976), an occupant can
create an environment with strong ties to his
or her own self-concept. Naturally, the extent
to which an undergraduate actually feels that
their living space reflects their identity will vary
substantially (Meagher, 2016). 	

. . . a eudaimonic approach to
health emphasizes the need to
actively promote, facilitate, and
support human flourishing.

In the current study, I investigate whether
these feelings of connection with one's
housing are in fact associated with flourishing
among students, above and beyond anticipated
demographic and personality variables. Moreover, I evaluate several potential explanations
(i.e., mediators) for this theorized relationship. First, being able to adapt a space to reflect
one's identity may be particularly valuable for
emotion regulation. Gosling and colleagues
(2008) have argued that marking a space
can in large part be conceptualized as creat-

ing " feeling regulators. " Surrounding oneself
with photographs of loved ones, objects from
important life events, or decorations reflecting
one's interests serves the function of promoting positive and reducing negative emotions.
In this way, one can create a setting with an ambience most compatible with promoting positive affective experiences (Graham et al., 2015).
In fact, research on favorite places highlights
the strong emotional components of this person-environment relationship (Korpela, 1989,
1992; Manzo, 2003, 2005), emphasizing that
important places are identified as such because
of their ability to elicit desired emotions.
Alternatively, place identity may promote
flourishing by facilitating more effective behavioral self-regulation (Meagher, 2020). In
altering their home environments, occupants
create settings with particular behavioral opportunities (i.e., affordances; Gibson, 1979).
Being in a space that facilitates desired behaviors will be critical for undergraduates,
who use their rooms for a variety of purposes
(Amole, 2005).  A room high in place identity
will invite its occupant to engage in more personally meaningful behaviors (Withagen et
al., 2012), consistent with previous research
demonstrating that place identity is positively
associated with flow experiences (Bonaiuto et
al., 2016). Additionally, the setting can also be
arranged by its occupant in ways that inhibit
maladaptive behaviors, thereby promoting
prospective self-control (Fujita, 2011; Trope &
Fishbach, 2005). In this way, having a space
that aids the student's capacity to regulate their  
own behavior towards their ideal self may facilitate flourishing.
Finally, a third potential pathway from
place identity to student well-being may come
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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