Is the Search for Meaning Related to the Presence of Meaning? Moderators of the Longitudinal Relationship
Publication in refereed journal


摘要Meaning in life is an important element of psychological well-being. Intuitively, the search for meaning is associated with greater presence of meaning, but whether the relationship exists is met with mixed findings in the literature. The present studies aim to investigate the moderators of this relationship. Two studies, a one-month longitudinal study (N = 166, retention rate = 100%) and a six-month longitudinal study (N = 181, retention rate = 83%) were carried out. Participants completed measures on meaning in life, personality variables, and psychological needs in the baseline survey, and meaning in life in the follow-up survey. Multiple regression analysis showed that optimism, BIS, and psychological needs emerged to be significant moderators of the longitudinal relationship. Search for meaning at baseline was positively associated with presence of meaning at follow-up only for those with greater maladaptive traits. The search for meaning in adverse circumstances appears to be more effective than in benign conditions. Deficiency search is functional.

Meaning in life is a central human motivation (Frankl 1963). The benefits of having a sense of meaning is well-established. A sense of meaning is associated with better physical health (Czekierda et al. 2017) and is related to lower mortality rate across the lifespan (Hill and Turiano 2014).

Given the importance of meaning in life, it is important to identify potential avenues to achieve it. One intuitive way to is to deliberately search for it. However, the literature has been mixed regarding whether the search for meaning can lead to presence of meaning. The effect of search for meaning on presence of meaning is either non-existent (Dezutter et al. 2015; Steger and Kashdan 2007) or at best weak (Newman et al. 2018). Therefore, we refine the question by asking when and for whom the search for meaning might produce meaning. In fact, high levels of presence of meaning are relatively commonplace (Heintzelman and King 2014). As such, a ceiling effect might be one reason why the current literature could not demonstrate a strong search-to-presence relationship. Thus, examining search for meaning for those who have room to further increase the presence of meaning is an important research question. The studies reported herein aim to investigate the moderators of the longitudinal search-to-presence relationship using a longitudinal design. We investigated whether people with (1) low baseline presence of meaning, (2) low personality characteristics conducive to the development of presence of meaning, and/or (3) a low level of fulfilled psychological needs could benefit from the searching process. Understanding who can develop a sense of meaning in life paves the way to helping those who struggle to find meaning.
著者Chu STW, Fung HH
期刊名稱Journal of Happiness Studies
出版社Springer Verlag
頁次127 - 145

上次更新時間 2021-22-11 於 00:24