Meaning in life and resilience to stressors

Brian D. Ostafin*, Travis Proulx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background:and Objectives: This research examined whether life meaning promotes resilience to stressor-related psychological distress and repetitive negative thinking. Design and Methods:Three studies (totalN = 273) used cross-sectional (Study 1) and prospective (Studies 2 and 3) designs to assess the relation between life meaning and response to various stressors. Results:Results showed that in Study 1, greater life meaning was inversely related with repetitive negative thinking and psychological distress. Further, a mediation analysis showed an indirect effect for the life meaning-repetitive negative thinking relation through psychological distress. In Study 2, baseline life meaning predicted less repetitive negative thinking about a subsequent city-wide flood. In Study 3, baseline life meaning was inversely related to distress and repetitive negative thinking after writing about an aversive memory. A mediation analysis showed an indirect effect for the life meaning-repetitive negative thinking relation through distress. Conclusions:In all studies, life meaning predicted outcomes when controlling for other positive well-being variables. Overall, the findings suggest that individuals with greater trait life meaning experience less stressor-related distress and repetitive negative thinking and that the life meaning-repetitive negative thinking relation may be mediated by distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-622
Number of pages20
JournalAnxiety Stress and Coping
Volume33
Issue number6
Early online date5-Aug-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2020

Keywords

  • Meaning in life
  • stressors
  • trauma
  • anxiety
  • rumination
  • resilience
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH
  • WELL
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • ASSOCIATIONS
  • AFFIRMATION
  • UNCERTAINTY
  • VALIDATION
  • EXPERIENCE
  • RUMINATION

Cite this