Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Second Committee Member

Jonathan Hilpert

Third Committee Member

Lori Olafson

Fourth Committee Member

Christine Clark

Number of Pages



Self-coherence as the hub of all needs is a novel proposition made by Carol Dweck (2017), and not yet further explored. While supporting self-coherence with a comprehensive review of its presence within behavioral sciences, Dweck does not dive deeper into it, and offers an invitation for further research of its workings. In this study I respond to that invitation. I design a continuation to her theory. I also expand her theory to include what I have found to be missing, but essential, additional components that cannot be ignored within the context of self-coherence as a master sensor of needs. Finally, I frame my design within a new proposed model, which simplifies layers of theoretical complexity and guides the reader through well informed expectations of the workings of self-coherence. This study investigates that proposition through a phenomenological approach to uncover the experience of self-coherence. 24 participants yielded

45 hours of in-depth interview data. Over 700 conceptual codes populated 42 categories and 7 themes during analysis, revealing the essence of the experience of self-coherence as a mechanism of conflict and negotiation between internal and external validation, informed by, and informing, a historical narrative. Importantly, 16 participants identify within the LGBTQ spectrum, including 7 male-to-female transgender individuals, with an 8th being myself, the researcher. Discussion, therefore, touches also on aspects of gender, and relates self-coherence to deep mechanisms of the self, touching upon existential, developmental and educational psychology.

Keywords: self-coherence, need, validation, agency, internal validation, external validation, self-narrative, narrative, memory, educational psychology, developmental psychology, existential psychology, existentialism, gender studies, gender, transgender, lgbtq.


agency; need; self-coherence; transgender; validation; well being


Educational Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Psychology

File Format


File Size

24800 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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