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.

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

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