Mattering and Psychological Well-being in College and University Students: Review and Recommendations for Campus-Based Initiatives

  • Gordon FlettEmail author
  • Attia Khan
  • Chang Su
Original Article


The current paper examines the unique protective role of feelings of mattering in psychological well-being. Mattering is the feeling of being significant and important to other people. We provide an overview of research on individual differences in mattering as described initially by Rosenberg and McCullough (1981). Mattering is central to psychological well-being and health, but the concept of mattering itself has been severely neglected by researchers, counselors, and clinicians. Research on mattering in post-secondary school students is summarized and various ways of assessing and understanding individual differences in mattering are described, including mattering at university and in the community. It is demonstrated that feelings of not mattering are uniquely implicated in depression and suicidal tendencies. The need to matter among post-secondary students from diverse backgrounds is highlighted. This paper concludes with a discussion of proposed steps that colleges and universities can take to promote mattering among students. Campus-based initiatives, practices, and policies that instill a sense of mattering and address the need for students to feel like they matter are considered.


Mattering Depression Suicide Counseling Assessment Self-esteem 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada

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