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Youth purpose, meaning in life, social support and life satisfaction among adolescents in Singapore and Israel

Abstract

Questions about purpose, life meaning, and life satisfaction drive central debates about what good education should look like in schools. This study compares adolescent purposes, life meaning, social support and life satisfaction in Singapore and Israel. Meaning in life refers to finding one’s significance; purpose uses this significance in ways beyond self. Key findings showed four purpose clusters for Singapore: no orientation, self-focused, other-focused, and both self- and other-focused. Israeli adolescents were in three purpose clusters without the no orientation group. Israeli adolescents had significantly higher life satisfaction, with no purpose orientation for 18% of Singapore’s students having significant negative impact on life satisfaction. Presence of meaning, parents’ support followed by teachers’ support were positive predictors of life satisfaction. Notably, Israeli students had more life meaning and parental support; Singapore’s adolescents had more teacher support but were searching for meaning. Implications for a more human experience of schooling are discussed.

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Heng, M.A., Fulmer, G.W., Blau, I. et al. Youth purpose, meaning in life, social support and life satisfaction among adolescents in Singapore and Israel. J Educ Change 21, 299–322 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-020-09381-4

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Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Youth
  • Purpose in life
  • Meaning in life
  • Social support
  • Life satisfaction
  • Wellbeing
  • Education
  • Schooling
  • Singapore
  • Israel