The equivocal meanings of time: Exploratory and structural analyses

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This study addresses itself to the question of how people conceive of time. On the basis of philosophical, scientific, and cultural positions, we identified those beliefs which contribute to the basic meanings of time and generate the specific themes by which time is conceptualized. A questionnaire of beliefs about time was completed by 392 students. An exploratory factor analysis yielded seven factors, which qualified time as destructive, constructive, fluid, elusive, cyclical, eternal, and mysterious. The factor scales significantly related to gender, origin, faculty association, and death anxiety. A structural equation modeling approach was employed to test a model of second-order factors which presumably tapped evaluative aspects and perhaps thus related to the affective basis of the attitude toward time. The model assumed three general factors: Assuring Time, Disquieting Time, and Dynamic-Ambivalent Time. The results showed that the model provided an acceptable fit. Our results validate the time conception questionnaire developed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1991


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