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ERIC Number: EJ934299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Is Longing Only for Germans? A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Sehnsucht in Germany and the United States
Scheibe, Susanne; Blanchard-Fields, Fredda; Wiest, Maja; Freund, Alexandra M.
Developmental Psychology, v47 n3 p603-618 May 2011
"Sehnsucht", the longing or yearning for ideal yet seemingly unreachable states of life, is a salient topic in German culture and has proven useful for understanding self-regulation across adulthood in a German sample (e.g., Scheibe, Freund, & Baltes, 2007). The current study tested whether findings for German samples could be generalized to the more individualistic and agentic U.S. American culture. Four samples of U.S. American and German participants (total N = 1,276) age 18 to 81 years reported and rated their 2 most important life longings and completed measures of subjective well-being and health. Measurement equivalence was established at the level of factor loadings for central life longing characteristics. German and U.S. American participants did not differ in self-reported ease of identifying personal life longings or their intensity. In comparison to Germans, however, U.S. Americans associated life longings less with utopian, unattainable states and reported less salience of the concept in everyday life. Associations with measures of adaptation suggest that life longings can be both functional and dysfunctional for development in both cultures. (Contains 4 tables, 2 figures and 6 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; United States