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Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 185–202 | Cite as

I Gotta Say, Today Was a Good (and Meaningful) Day: Daily Meaning in Life as a Potential Basic Psychological Need

  • Benjamin W. Hadden
  • C. Veronica SmithEmail author
Research Paper
  • 230 Downloads

Abstract

Prior research has found that global meaning in life promotes several forms of well-being such as better coping and lower stress, and suggests that meaning in life is a common experience that is shaped by daily experiences. We build on this research by testing the possibility that meaning is a basic psychological need. In Study 1, participants (N = 195) completed a 21-day diary that included daily assessments of depressive symptomology, affect, and self-esteem. In Study 2, participants (N = 142) completed a 14-day diary, adding stress and vitality as additional indicators of well-being. Across both studies, we found that meaning in life is a consistent predictor of psychological well-being. Further, in Study 2, we tested the unique role of meaning in life against other basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence, relatedness), finding that meaning in life continues to predict well-being even in the presence of other psychological needs.

Keywords

Meaning Well-being Self-determination theory Need satisfaction 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA

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