Psychometrics in pursuit of existence: A new version of the Test of Existential Motivations
We present a series of studies aimed at the development and the validation of a new Russian-language instrument measuring existential fulfilment based on the hierarchical structure of the 4 existential fundamental motivations developed by A. Längle. Based on phenomenological descriptions and focus groups, we created a 94-item set. The structural validation study used 2 online samples (N = 818 and N = 215). Using hierarchical cluster analysis, expert-rating procedure, and confirmatory factor analysis with cross-validation we arrived at a hierarchically structured set of 36 items grouped into 4 scales (forming a general index of existential fulfilment) and 12 subscales corresponding to theoretical prerequisites of fundamental motivations. The scales demonstrated acceptable reliability (α in the .79-.88 range, .93 for the general score). In 3 samples (N = 658, N = 215, N = 105) we sought evidence of convergent and discriminant validity of TEM against measures of well-being (emotional, social, and psychological well-being, subjective happiness, satisfaction with life), basic psychological need satisfaction, self-esteem, psychopathology (anxiety, depression, alienation), and the Big Five traits using correlation and regression analyses. Two other studies explored the associations of existential fulfilment with other demographic and psychological variables (gender, age, self-control, reflexive processes) in a large sample (N = 3766) and investigated TEM scores in individuals with binge eating disorder (N = 193). The findings show the convergent validity of existential fulfilment indicators against well-being measures based on different theoretical approaches, as well as discriminant and criterion validity of existential fundamental motivation scales. We also discuss the psychometric challenges associated with existential concepts and propose approaches to their solution.