Meaning in life and searching for meaning are central in how people organize their lives and deal with various challenges during them. Studies on meaning and the search for meaning among prisoners are virtually nonexistent. Based on the presence of meaning in their lives and on their search for meaning, we discovered four different profiles in a sample of 365 prisoners: High Presence High Search, High Presence Low Search, Low Presence High Search, and Low Presence Low Search. Compared to prisoners with low meaning profiles, those whose profiles were marked by higher levels of meaning displayed less distress, more positive world assumptions, and higher levels of self-worth. They also show more empathy for others. Older prisoners and prisoners who were sexually abused during childhood were more represented in the profile that was marked by extremely low levels of meaning and low levels of search for meaning.
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