Do Sources of Meaning Differentially Predict Search for Meaning, Presence of Meaning, and Wellbeing


  • Melissa E. Grouden Victoria University of Wellington
  • Paul E. Jose Victoria University of Wellington


sources of meaning, search for meaning, presence of meaning, well-being, wellbeing, breadth of meaning


Meaning in life is vital for human wellbeing. Research has examined important sources of meaning: however, it has not yet investigated whether certain sources of meaning might be more predictive of overall meaning and wellbeing. A community sample of 247 individuals (30 – 69 years) rated the degree of meaningfulness they experienced in certain domains and completed 11 wellbeing measures. Presence of meaning was positively predicted by family and interpersonal relations, and negatively by leisure activities; search for meaning was positively predicted by personal growth and religiosity/spirituality. Meaning from family and health aided in the process of searching for meaning leading to presence of meaning; similarly, meaning from family, interpersonal relationships, health, religiosity/spirituality and life in general buffered against impoverished wellbeing when searching for meaning. Presence and wellbeing were both higher if the domains of work, family, interpersonal relations, community/society issues, and life in general were highly endorsed. Lastly, highly endorsing a larger number of sources buffered against negative wellbeing outcomes when searching for meaning. Overall, we found that meaning from important domains such as family and interpersonal relationships, and strongly endorsing a wide variety of sources, protected against negative wellbeing outcomes when searching for meaning.



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Author Biography

Paul E. Jose, Victoria University of Wellington

Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington