Experiences of meaning in life: a combined qualitative and quantitative approach

Br J Psychol. 1995 Aug:86 ( Pt 3):359-75. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1995.tb02758.x.


The present study investigates the relation of aspects of meaning in life with indices of psychological well-being by means of a combined qualitative and quantitative design. Content analysis of subjects' answers to open questions about personal experiences with meaning in life showed findings that are in line with phenomena that are reported in the literature. Meaningfulness was found to be strongly associated with contact with self, others and the world, whereas meaninglessness was associated with a state of alienation from self, others and the world. The Life Regard Index (LRI), an instrument designed to measure the construct of positive life regard, was found to be strongly associated with the interpersonal dimension of well-being. The exchange of both positive and negative feelings was associated with positive life regard. As predicted, effective coping with stressful life events in the past was associated with a current sense of meaningfulness as measured with the LRI. The findings support the clinical significance of the construct of meaning in life and add to the validity of the LRI. The strength and weakness of a combined qualitative and quantitative research approach are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Psychological