Prosociality enhances meaning in life

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Prosociality enhances meaning in life

A central feature of meaning in life is a consideration of more than oneself. We extend this logic to suggest that altruistically motivated prosociality – acting in ways that benefit others – is a self-transcending action that may provide meaning in life. Study 1 provided evidence of a relationship between self-reported prosocial behavior and meaning in life, even after statistically controlling for personality traits and self-esteem. Study 2 provided evidence that engaging in a prosocial action, via writing notes of gratitude, increased meaning in life. Study 3 provided evidence that individuals bolster perceptions of prosociality following threats to meaning. Study 4 suggested relationship satisfaction partially mediates the link between prosocial actions and meaning in life. These studies provide initial evidence that prosociality enhances meaning in life.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2016, 225-236

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