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Scand J Psychol. 2018 Dec;59(6):678-690. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12495. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

What brings meaning to life in a highly secular society? A study on sources of meaning among Danes.

Author information

1
Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
2
Betanien, DPS, Bergen, Norway.
3
Institute of Psychology, Innsbruck University, Innsbruck, Austria.
4
MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Oslo, Norway.
5
Research Unit of General Practice, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
6
VID Specialized University, Oslo, Norway.
7
Knowledge Center for Functional Diseases, Region H, Denmark.

Abstract

This study presents psychometric properties of the Danish version of the Sources of Meaning and Meaning in Life Scale (SoMe-Da) and associations to socio-demographic and religious characteristics. Participants were 554 Danes, 66% women ranging in age between 15 and 91 years. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) suggested a five factor structure for the 26 sources if meaning. Construct validity within the SoMe-Da and between mental health variables were established. Generativity associated most strongly with meaningfulness followed by spirituality, attentiveness, and explicit religiosity. We found religious characteristics to be more strongly associated with meaningfulness than socio-demographic variables. Finally, we found distinct patterns of preferred sources of meaning between Christians, agnostics, and atheists. Christians and agnostics seemed to be more motivated by self-transcendance, whereas atheists may be more motivated by self-actualization. Results indicate that the SoMe-Da appears to be a valid instrument for measuring the content and degree of personal meaning in life.

KEYWORDS:

Meaning in life; crisis; mental health; secular; sources of meaning; validation

PMID:
30357868
DOI:
10.1111/sjop.12495
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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