Case study: Personal Meaning and Well-Being

The intent of the present survey was to scientifically look into the relationship between personal significance and wellbeing by operationalizing the concepts utilizing psychometric instruments. It was predicted that one ‘s sense of personal significance ( as measured by the Personal Meaning Index ( PMI ) is positively correlated with one ‘s mark of physical wellbeing ( as measured by a physical well-being subscale of the Perceived Well-Being Scale ( PWBS-revised ) . Second, it was predicted that a PMI mark would be extremely associated with a mark of psychological wellbeing ( as measured by a psychological well-being subscale of the PWBS-revised ) . Third, it was predicted that one ‘s PMI mark would be positively correlated with the figure of points considered high significance on the Beginnings Of Meaning Profile ( SOMP ) . Forty-eight work forces and adult females from 2nd twelvemonth psychological science: Basic Experimental Methods and Statisticss at Trent University completed the PMI, the PWBS, and the SOMP. Neither the first nor the 2nd hypotheses were confirmed by the survey. The consequences were reasonably consistent with the 3rd hypothesis.

Personal Meaning and Well-Being

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Since the early beginnings of world, worlds, in peculiar philosophers and more presently, psychologists, have been interested in the significance of life. Over the centuries many of the “ replies ” have changed greatly, and some have even stayed the same. More of import than the existent “ reply ” is the sense of personal significance in life one additions upon geting at a personally hearty decision. Reker & A ; Wong ( 1988, have defined personal significance as: “ the awareness of order, coherency, & A ; purpose in one ‘s being, the chase & A ; attainment of worthwhile ends, & A ; an attach toing sense of fulfilment p.221 ” ) . Numerous surveies have been conducted with the purpose to research the deductions of personal significance and wellbeing.

In a survey by Reker, Peacock, & A ; Wong ( 1987 ) , the research workers developed a multidimensional attack to mensurate significance and the intent in life. There were three 100 topics, 30 work forces and 30 adult females at each of the five developmental phases in life. The topics varied in instruction, employment, and matrimonial position. They completed a series of instruments: The Life Attitude Profile ( LAP ) ; Life purpose ( LP ) a step of gusto for life, fulfilment, and satisfaction ; Existential Vacuum ( EV ) measures a deficiency of significance in life, deficiency of ends, and free-floating anxiousness ; Life Control ( LC ) measures freedom to do all life picks, the exercising of personal duty, and the perceptual experience of internal control of life events ; Death Acceptance ( DA ) is a step of absence of fright and anxiousness about decease ; Will To Meaning ( WM ) measures how one strives to happen concrete significance in personal being, a hunt for ideals and values, and

an grasp of life beyond the present ; Goal Seeking ( GS ) measures the desires to accomplish new ends, to seek for new and different experiences, and to be on the move ; Future Meaning ( FM ) is a step of future fulfilment, the credence of future potencies, and positive outlooks refering oneself and one ‘s future life ; The Perceived Well-Being Scale ( PWB ) measures psychological and physical wellbeing ( Reker et al. , 1987 ) . Reker et Al. ( 1987 ) found that several dimensions of life attitudes change over one ‘s life and that older topics report higher degrees of life satisfaction compared with middle-aged and immature topics. There was an increasing credence of decease by middle-aged and aged grownups ( Reker et al. , 1987 ) . The research worker found that immature grownups have strong demand to accomplish new ends and to look toward future possibilities, while the aged tend to look back at their yesteryear and happen significance in what they have accomplished ( Reker et al. , 1987 ) . Unexpectedly, they discovered higher degrees of human being among the immature and aged groups ( Reker et al. , 1987 ) . Sexual activity differences were found in two of the seven LAP dimensions, and were intrigued at the sex difference for WM, peculiarly for the aged, middle-aged and the young-old groups ( Reker et al. , 1987 ) . Last, Reker et Al. ( 1987 ) found that six of seven LAP dimensions are significantly associated with sensed wellbeing: significance and intent in life are associated with positive feelings of mental and physical wellness ; deficiency of significance and purpose predicts perceived psychological and physical uncomfortablenesss.

Reker & A ; Wong ( 1984 ) sought out to research the effectivity of the Perceived Well-Being Scale ( PWB ) . With a sample of 238 aged people, the dependability of the

PWB was assured ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . Then, the PWB was correlated with a figure of psychological and health-related variables, measured utilizing the Memorial University of Newfoundland Scale of Happiness ( MUNSH ) , Beck ‘s Depression Scale, the Personal Optimism Scale ( POS ) , the Committedness to Life Events Survey ( CLES ) , and a physical symptom checklist ( Reker and Wong, 1984 ) . The topics for these trials were 20 community and 24 institutionalized aged ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . The research workers found the general wellbeing is correlated positively with felicity, present committedness, personal optimism, and negatively with depression and physical symptoms ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . They besides saw both the psychological and physical well-being constituents of the PWB correlated significantly with felicity, present committedness and depression and that merely the psychological well-being constituent correlated positively with personal optimism ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . Overall, the magnitude of the correlativity is systematically higher for the psychological constituent and there was a high correlativity between sensed physical wellbeing and felicity ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . Last, self-rated physical symptoms correlated significantly with general and physical wellbeing, but did non correlate with psychological wellbeing ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . The research workers saw a linkage between the psychological and physical constituents but they both make a big part to the overall index ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . A reproduction survey was besides performed with 33 community elderly in which they were given the PWB and the MUNSH ; felicity correlated significantly with psychological, physical, and general wellbeing ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . Last, it was found that community elderly rated their psychological, physical, and general wellbeing

significantly higher than the establishment elderly ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1984 ) . In decision, Reker & A ; Wong, ( 1984 ) province that the PWB is a short and convenient step constructed and validated for usage with community and institutional aged.

In 1988, Reker and Wong study the nature of personal significance in which they find to hold at least three related constituents: cognitive, motivational and affectional. The cognitive constituent helps to do sense of one ‘s experiences ; the motivational constituent refers to the value system of single ; the affectional constituent accepts that the realisation of personal significance is ever met with feelings of satisfaction an fulfilment ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1988 ) . Reker & A ; Wong ( 1988 ) list six posits, two hypotheses and five agencies for the systematic measuring of the stuff in inquiry. The Sources of Meaning Profile ( SOMP ) is chiefly a step of present significance ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1988 ) . Thirteen beginnings of significance listed are: enjoyable or leisure activities, run intoing basic demands, originative abilities, personal relationships, personal accomplishment, personal growing, spiritual beliefs and activities, societal or political causes, service to others or selflessness, credence and acknowledgment by others, digesting values and ideals, traditions and civilization, and bequest ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1988 ) . The other steps are named: the Implication Ladder, Meaning System Complexity, Life and Death Attitude Scales, and Personal Meaning in Time Perspective ( PMIT ) ( Reker & A ; Wong, 1988 ) .

A survey by Spangler & A ; Palrecha ( 2004 ) assessed the parts of extroversions, neurosis, and personal nisuss to happiness. 271 American undergraduate and alumnus university pupils ( 115 males and 143 females were identified by gender ) in

organisational behavior categories participated ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 ) . To mensurate extroversion and neurosis, a short version of the NEO-PI was used ; mensurating

Endeavoring was 48 points of the Jackson Personality Research Form ; felicity and sadness was measured by the Fordyce instrument ; demographic informations based on age, gender, and cultural background was provided by participants ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 ) . As a consequence, extroversion was positively related to happiness, and negatively related to unhappiness ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 ) . A really big positive consequence of association on felicity was found for all topics, and a really big negative consequence of association on sadness was found for work forces and the entire sample ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 ) . The writers explain two different positions of wellbeing. The hedonistic position sees well-being as the acquisition of pleasance and turning away of hurting, while the eudaimonic position sees well-being as significance and self-actualization ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 ) . The consequences favour the hedonistic position ( Spangler & A ; Palrecha, 2004 )

In 2000, Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult present a theoretical account of quality of life and related factors, to analyze quality of life in a group of aged topics, and to make preliminary testing of the theoretical account. Three hundred finish aged of three age groups ( 75-79 old ages, 80-84 old ages, 85 old ages or more ) were selected to partake in interviews during a period of 4 months ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . The structured interview had 60 inquiries including sub-questions related to different facets of life ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . The interviewers constructed some of the inquiries but most were taken from antecedently tested instruments ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . Questions refering wellbeing were made for this survey ; sense of significance was measured by

Personal Meaning and Well-Being

Purpose-in-Life ( PIL ) and sense of coherency ( SOC ) ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . The Self-Esteem Scale ( SES ) measured the sense of value or dignity ; nonsubjective wellness was measured by oppugning the topics on footings of diseases suffered in last 6 months, while subjective wellness was measured by the Psychosomatic Symptoms Scale ( PSS ) ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . ADL-capacity was measured by the ADL-ladder, and centripetal motor capacity was measured by 4 inquiries made by the writers ( Sarvimake & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . Last, the external conditions for quality of life were measured by inquiries refering living country, the criterion of lodging, adjustment, and the figure of societal contacts ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . Well-being was high in footings of satisfaction with life country, economic state of affairs and wellness, and the sources had a rather clear sense of intent in life ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . The consequences of the SOC supported the position that the topics by and large viewed their life as meaningful, apprehensible and manageable, and they besides seemed to hold a strong sense of value or self deserving in footings of self-pride ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . SOC was extremely correlated with wellness, while the experience of PIL was besides associated with ADL and household web ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . Finally, self-pride seemed to be more dependent on contacts with other relations, friends and neighbors than on contacts with household members ( Sarvimaki & A ; Stenbock-Hult, 2000 ) . In decision, the writers province that community brooding aged

people tend to hold comparatively good wellness and a good functional capacity and sensory-motor system.

In 1997, Schmutte & A ; Ryff examined the connexions between personality and wellbeing. In the survey, 114 adult females, and 101 work forces were indiscriminately selected with an age scope from 44 to 65. Subsequently, 139 of the partners of the topics participated ( Schmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . The step used for personality was the NEO Five-Factor Inventory ( NEO-FFI ) ; for psychological wellbeing, topics completed a questionnaire designed by the writers taken from old literature on lifetime development, mental wellness, and personal growing ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . Using subscales of the Centre for Epidemiological Studies-Depression ( CES-D ) assessed current affect ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . Generall, the well-being results were negatively linked with neurosis ( N ) , positively linked with extroversion ( E ) , agreeableness ( A ) , and conscientiousness ( C ) , and weakly or non at all linked with openness to experiences ( O ) ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . Self-acceptance, environmental command, intent in life, and autonomy demonstrated similar correlational forms, with strongest links to N and C, followed by E, followed by A. ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . Personal growing showed a unambiguously strong nexus with O, along with important links with E, A, and C ; positive dealingss was most strongly related to A and demonstrated extra links with N, E, and C ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . After retroflexing the survey with the partner sample, by and large the form of consequences strongly resembled the findings for the mark sample ( Shmutte & A ; Ryff, 1997 ) . In decision, Shmutte & A ; Ryff ( 1997 ) province that their findings revealed consistent linkages between the spheres of personality and wellbeing.

Personal Meaning and Well-Being

Larrabee, Bolden & A ; Knight ( 1998 ) , pioneered a phenomenological survey to depict the lived experience of patient prudence in wellness attention. 10 hospitalized grownups ( 8 adult females and 2 work forces ) between the ages of 20 and 65, whose wellness had required old recommendations for alterations in their usual forms of life, participated in the survey ( Larrabee et al. , 1998 ) . The participants were asked to react to the statement ‘share with me what the experience is like for your wellness that requires alterations ‘ ; the interviews were recorded verbatim ( Larrabee et al. , 1998 ) . Colaizzi ‘s six stairss were used to analyze the qualitative informations ( Larrabee et al. , 1998 ) . Seven subject bunchs resulted from the formulated significances: 1. Prudence involves accepting the necessity of doing a alteration, 2. Prudence involves swearing the supplier to urge what is best for you, 3. prudence involves following recommendations because of a desire for well-being and self-perpetuation, 4. Prudence can intend following recommendations because it ‘s easy, 5. Prudence can intend fighting to follow recommendations, 6. Prudence means covering with conflicting precedences, and 7. Prudence can affect fortunes that I ca n’t command but God will take attention of me ( Larabee et al. , 1998 ) . The writers write that none of the bing wellness behavior theories capture the kernel of patient prudence of subjects 5-7 ( Larabee et al. , 1998 ) . Similarly, they province that Orem ‘s theory of self-care does non include people ‘s affectional experience with choosing among conflicting precedences or covering with deficiency of control, and that personal wellness may non be the most extremely valued life end or it may be excessively hard to accomplish ( Larabee et al. , 1998 )

Personal Meaning and Well-Being

The intent of the present survey was threefold. The first anticipation concerns the correlativity of a PMI mark with physical wellbeing ( as measured by the PWBS-revised ) . Consistent with the findings of Reker et Al. ( 1997 ) we predicted that there would be a positive correlativity here. The 2nd hypothesis predicts that a PMI mark will besides be positively correlated with psychological wellbeing ( as measured by the PWBS-revised ) . This anticipation is besides consistent with the findings of Reker et Al. ( 1987 ) . Our 3rd anticipation concerns the correlativity between a PMI mark and the figure of SOMP tonss deemed as high-meaning. As consistent with the breadth hypothesis of Reker & A ; Wong ( 1988 ) , we hypothesize that positive correlativity will ensue. The independent variables in the present survey are the pupils, and the dependent variables are the three types of tonss that we collected.



Thirty-five adult females and 14 work forces from 2nd twelvemonth Psychology: Basic Experimental Methods and Statisticss at Trent University, Oshawa Ontario participated. The average age of the sample was 23.84 old ages ( SD = 6.97 ) .


The Personal Meaning Index ( PMI ) is a 24-item questionnaire designed to mensurate the sum of personal significance one has in life. The topics indicated how good he or she

agrees or disagrees to the statements. The seven possible responses to take from ranged from “ strongly hold ( SA ) ” to “ strongly disagree ( SD ) ” . Two illustrations of statements were “ I am determined to do my hereafter meaningful ” and I will probably be successful at accomplishing my life ends ” . The topics stated their age and sex. The Sources Of Meaning Profile ( SOMP ) is a 16-item questionnaire that assesses the beginnings of significance in people ‘s lives. The topic read the beginning and assigned a figure from one to seven, runing from “ non at all meaningful ” to “ highly intending ” , severally. Two illustrations of beginnings were leisure activities and humanistic concerns. The topics stated their age and sex. The Sensed Well-Being Scale-Revised ( PWBS-revised ) is a 16-item questionnaire used to measure one ‘s mental and physical wellbeing. This graduated table operated in the same manner as the PMI. Two illustrations of statements were “ I have many physical ailments ” and “ Sometimes I wish that I ne’er wake up ” . Again the topics stated their age and sex.


The questionnaires were handed out to the pupils at the terminal of a talk and the pupils were given a hebdomad to make full them out and hold them returned to the research worker at the beginning of the following talk. The pupils were explained the nature of the survey and taking portion in the survey was involved in obtaining the recognition for the class. It took about 15 proceedingss to finish the three questionnaires.



Valid N






Std. Dev

Standard Error










SOMP Total









SOMP High Meaning









PWBS Physical



















Table 1. Descriptive statistics for the consequences of the questionnaires

A correlativity between the PMI tonss and the psychological wellbeing tonss was performed and the consequence was no correlativity [ R ( 49 ) = 0.14, P & lt ; .05 ] . R was calculated to be.0196.

A correlativity between the PMI tonss and the psychological wellbeing tonss was performed and the consequence was no correlativity [ R ( 49 ) = 0.14, P & lt ; .05 ] . R was calculated to be.0196.

A correlativity between the PMI tonss and the high significance SOMP tonss was performed and the consequence was a little positive additive correlativity [ R ( 49 ) = 0.30, P & lt ; .05 ] . R was calculated to be.09

For the correlativities represented on a scatterplot diagram, delight mention to Appendixes B, C, and D.


The intent of the present survey was to look into the relationship between personal significance and wellbeing. It was foremost predicted that one ‘s personal significance ( PMI mark ) would be positively correlated with physical wellbeing ( as measured by the PWBS-physical subscale ) . The 2nd hypothesis predicted that one ‘s personal significance ( PMI mark ) would be positively correlated with psychological wellbeing ( PWBS-psychological subscale ) . Neither of these hypotheses were supported by the informations. Last, we predicted that one ‘s PMI mark would be positively correlated with the figure of high significance tonss of the SOMP graduated table. The information did mildly back up this hypothesis.

The consequences of the present survey hence do non hold with those of Reker et Al. ( 1987 ) , and merely somewhat agree with those of Reker & A ; Wong ( 1988 ) .

The findings mean that possibly the sample used in the present survey did non stand for the samples used in Reker et Al. ( 1987 ) and Reker & A ; Wong ( 1988 ) . Besides, the PMI used in the present survey may non be utile as a tool as the PWBS used in the old surveies.

This survey has some restrictions that need to be addressed. For illustration, the present survey used a sample that was comparatively little. This is an of import issue since in old surveies samples would be in the 100s, which gives a better representation of a larger population. Second, the cultural background of the participants was non determined. Culture may play a big portion in how one expresses his personal significance. Future research should affect proving the cogency and dependability of the PMI. Besides, utilizing a sample of two hundred or more participants with their civilization specified would be utile.

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