Describing the person's external environment: Conceptualizing and measuring the life space

Academic Article


  • Through empirical study testing, a measure was developed by the authors to (a) develop factor-based scales of biodata items that depict the life space, (b) relates these life space measures to more traditional internal measures of psychological functioning, and (c) uses the data as a demonstration of how a person can be placed more fully within the context of their life space. This external life space is divided into a person’s biological foundations, the groups which contain the person, and the person’s interactions with the environment. 401 participants filled out hundreds of biodata items that sample from the three conceptual life space domains. In addition, they completed a number of scales that measured more internal conceptions such as sensation seeking and sex role. A preliminary study provided a trial run of an initial version of the Life Space Test as well as of procedures related to its administration and analysis. The overall measure is characterized by five factors including Caring Environment, Drug Culture Environment, Social Interacting Environment, Athletic Environment, and Isolated Environment. These dimensions correlate with measures of internal personality processes; they also help contextualize the person in his or her environment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Authors

  • Mayer, John D.
  • Carlsmith, KM
  • Chabot, HF
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 1998
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • Behavioral and Social Science
  • Clinical Research
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 253
  • End Page

  • 296
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 3