Sociodemographic, sociocultural, and individual predictors of reported feelings of meaninglessness among South African adolescents

Psychol Rep. 2004 Dec;95(3 Pt 2):1271-8. doi: 10.2466/pr0.95.3f.1271-1278.


The purpose of the study was to predict adolescents' sense of meaninglessness about South Africa's sociopolitical situation from sociodemographic, individual level, and sociocultural factors. The participants comprised 39 male and 64 female students from three schools in Cape Town, and had a mean age of 15.2 yr. (SD= 1.8 yr.). They completed an adaptation of Neal and Groat's Meaninglessness scale and measures of sociodemographic (age, sex, and parental occupation, household amenities, and household hunger as proxy measures of socioeconomic status), sociocultural (cultural pride and an adaptation of McClosky and Schaar's anomy scale), and individual level (depression, general life satisfaction, and knowledge of HIV status) factors. A multiple regression analysis indicated that the adolescents with higher reported scores for meaninglessness about South Africa's sociopolitical situation reported lower socioeconomic status, a stronger sense of anomy, and more symptoms of depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Politics*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Social Conditions*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South Africa