Sources and motives for personal meaning in adulthood

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Sources and motives for personal meaning in adulthood

This study examined sources and motives for personal meaning in adulthood using a mixed methods approach. Participants (N = 666) from seven Western countries reported sources of life meaning and why they were meaningful. They rated their perceived meaningfulness of 10 life domains and completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Family and personal life – indicating personal growth well-being harmony and self-actualization – emerged as main sources of meaning. Personal life referring mainly to self-transcendent values was the prominent motive underlying sources of meaning. Participants grouped according to age and family role revealed life stage differences in meaningfulness across domains. Hierarchical regressions indicated meaningfulness was not a significant predictor of life satisfaction confirming that hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions are distinct components of well-being. Findings elucidate the importance of self-generated accounts of meaning as these blend personal self-transcendent and demographic factors and offer insight not typically provided by standardized surveys.

The Journal of Positive Psychology , 2013

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