Meaning in life and its relationship to psychological well-being in adolescents
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Background & Methods: 800 Dutch adolescents from 11 to 18 years old (average age: 14.8) wrote about the categories that provide meaning to their life and indicated how important each category was to them and how satisfied they were with how this category was developing in their lives. They also answered questions about their spiritual/religious experiences, beliefs and values, their sense of self transcendence and their psychological well-being. Results: The group was split up according to their source of personal meaning: ideology (N=209) or everyday activities (420). The relationship between experienced personal meaning in life and psychological well-being proved to be much larger for the ideological meaning group (r=.58) than for the everyday meaning group (r=.37). Discussion: The role of spiritual meaning in life and self transcendence were different in both groups. Although the direction of the relation is unclear, as the data are correlational, encouraging youngsters to develop an ideological framework instead of relying on everyday principles may enhance their well-being.