Beyond the Search for Meaning: A Contemporary Science of the Experience of Meaning in Life

Published on Aug 10, 2016in Current Directions in Psychological Science
· DOI :10.1177/0963721416656354
Laura A. King56
Estimated H-index: 56
(MU: University of Missouri),
Samantha J. Heintzelman13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UVA: University of Virginia),
Sarah J. Ward8
Estimated H-index: 8
(MU: University of Missouri)
Recent advances in the science of meaning in life have taught us a great deal about the nature of the experience of meaning in life, its antecedents and consequences, and its potential functions. Conclusions based on self-report measures of meaning in life indicate that, as might be expected, it is associated with many aspects of positive functioning. However, this research also indicates that the experience of meaning in life may come from unexpectedly quotidian sources, including positive mood and coherent life experiences. Moreover, the experience of meaning in life may be quite a bit more commonplace than is often portrayed. Attending to the emerging science of meaning in life suggests not only potentially surprising conclusions but new directions for research on this important aspect of well-being.
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