Mattering--the sense that one makes a difference in the lives of others--is the most powerful motivator within the self-concept. Mattering is a fundamental safeguard that makes people aware of their connections to the larger social order; it gives evidence that we are integrated into society, and are free to pursue our goals knowing that we are not alone. The motivational impact of mattering is particularly pronounced in adolescence. During this time of personal upheaval, it is especially important to know that one matters to others; this knowledge serves as an anchor in this developmental stage of life. In this book, Gregory Elliott explores the effects of mattering to one's family on adolescent behavior. He presents evidence that those who feel that they matter to their families are much less likely to engage in anti-social or self-destructive behaviors and suggests how parents, teachers, and any significant others can help instill a sense of mattering in the lives of adolescents in their care.The clear understanding that they matter will help protect young people from the threats to wellbeing that are so prevalent in adolescence and will encourage them to navigate smoothly through these difficult years.
Gregory C. Elliott is Associate Professor of Sociology at Brown University. A social psychologist, his research focuses on the self and its relation to social systems. He teaches courses in social psychology, the self and society, and methods and statistics. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. He has also been a Consultant for the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.