Relationships Between Meaning in Life, Social and Achievement Events, and Positive and Negative Affect in Daily Life

Authors


  • This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R21-MH073937) and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University to TBK.

Abstract

Research on meaning in life has generally focused on global meaning judgments. This study examined how people's daily experiences, represented by events that occur in daily life, influence their perceived sense of meaning on a daily basis. One hundred sixty-two college students completed daily reports for 2 weeks. We examined the relationships among daily social and achievement events, daily positive and negative affect, and daily meaning in life. In addition, we tested the possible moderating influence of depressive symptoms on these relationships. Positive daily social and achievement events were related to greater daily meaning, above and beyond the contributions of daily positive and negative affect. Negative social and achievement events were related to less daily meaning, and negative achievement events covaried with daily meaning above and beyond positive and negative affect. Depression moderated the relationships between positive events and meaning, such that people who reported more depressive symptoms had greater increases in daily meaning in response to positive social and achievement events than individuals who reported fewer symptoms. These findings suggest the important role that daily events may play in fluctuations in people's affective experiences and sense of meaning in life.

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