The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 37

Place Identity and Student Flourishing

. . . marking one's environment
entails not just self-expression, but
also control-oriented motivations.
That is, it reflects the power of the
individual over what takes place in
this space.

of well-being can by promoted by the campus
environment.
In contrast to place identity, attachment to
one's housing proved to be unrelated to any of
these measures of well-being. Attachment is
characterized in terms of one's emotional bond
to a setting, and it is most evident when people
seek out that place during times of stress. In
light of these characteristics, it is likely that
attachment is more closely related to how
one copes with negative life events. Thus, the
benefits of attachment may be more evident
for those dealing with actual mental illnesses,
without necessarily contributing to the flourishing entailed in a eudaimonic framework for
mental health. However, further research is
needed to demonstrate this possibility.

LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE
DIRECTIONS
There are several important limitations to note
in this study. First, because this data is crosssectional, any causal relationships supported
in this analysis are purely theoretical. It is,
for example, possible that individuals high in
positive affect, autonomy, and self-regulatory
ability are more likely to create highly self-

referential spaces. However, place identity was
largely unassociated with any of the Big Five
personality factors, suggesting that it is likely
independent of preexisting, stable traits. Nevertheless, a longitudinal analysis is needed to
better evaluate causal hypotheses and the relational pathways posed here. If identification
with one's housing does help produce greater
psychological well-being among students, an
assessment of place identity at the beginning
of a term should predict positive changes in
well-being later in that term.
Another important caveat to these conclusions is that although each individual's measures were assessed independently, in reality
92% of these participants shared their room
with at least one other person. It is almost certainly the case that one's sense of place identity
is going to be closely associated with the attitudes, behaviors, and emotions of one's roommate-particularly in terms of being either
aligned or in conflict (Erlandson, 2012). Thus,
future research should employ a dyadic methodology (Kenny, 1996; Kenny et al., 2006) to
assess the extent to which these variables are
interdependent among cohabitants. Moreover,

. . . for new buildings that are
being constructed, it is important
to advocate for architectural design
that provides students with a sense
of control over their own space and
the capacity to alter it as much as
possible.
V O L U M E 4 7 , NO. 1 * 2 0 2 0

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

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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