Humanities and Social Sciences

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Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students

Received: Sep. 21, 2023    Accepted: Nov. 07, 2023    Published: Nov. 13, 2023
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Abstract

Background: Meaning in life is an essential construct in individuals’ lives, related to individuals' overall well-being. Several factors can lead to meaning in life, among them is the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. According to the Self-Determination Theory, the tendency towards achieving meaning in life is innate in individuals’ motivational tendency to understand their surroundings and be a part of it. Moreover, the satisfaction of basic psychological needs is essential for a healthy well-being, and thus can contribute to meaning in life. Research purpose: The research purpose was to measure the relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life levels (general, situational, daily) and dimensions (purpose, significance, coherence) among Chinese undergraduate students. Methods: Basic psychological needs as categorized by the Self-Determination Theory are autonomy, competence, relatedness, and beneficence were measured in this research. Meaning in life levels, general, situational, and daily, and dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence were measured in this research. Three sub-studies were conducted with three different samples of Chinese undergraduate students. Age ranged between 17 and 26 years old, with a majority of females participants across the three sub-studies. Sub-study one included 173 participants and was a correlational study. It measured general basic psychological needs and meaning in life. Sub-study two included 367 participants and was also a correlational study. It measured situational basic psychological needs and meaning in life, as well, as meaning in life dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence. Sub-study three included 61 participants and was a longitudinal study. It measured daily basic psychological needs and meaning in life across seven days. Results: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life at the general, situational, daily levels and meaning in life dimensions. Autonomy predicted meaning in life dimensions (significance, purpose, coherence), competence predicted daily and coherence dimension of meaning in life. Additionally, relatedness predicted significance and coherence dimensions of meaning in life, and beneficence predicted daily and purpose dimension of meaning in life. Conclusions: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life. The research also confirmed the universality of basic psychological needs. There was a difference in basic psychological needs prediction role across meaning in life levels and dimensions. The research presented similar and different results from previous research, which the door to further research on the role of mediators in the BPN – MIL relationship.

DOI 10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12
Published in Humanities and Social Sciences ( Volume 11, Issue 6, November 2023 )
Page(s) 188-195
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Meaning in Life, Meaning Dimensions, Self-Determination Theory, Basic Psychological Needs, Undergraduate Students

References
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    Marwa, S., Xiaosong, G. (2023). Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students. Humanities and Social Sciences, 11(6), 188-195. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12

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    ACS Style

    Marwa, S.; Xiaosong, G. Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students. Humanit. Soc. Sci. 2023, 11(6), 188-195. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12

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    AMA Style

    Marwa S, Xiaosong G. Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students. Humanit Soc Sci. 2023;11(6):188-195. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12

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  • @article{10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12,
      author = {Saab Marwa and Gai Xiaosong},
      title = {Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students},
      journal = {Humanities and Social Sciences},
      volume = {11},
      number = {6},
      pages = {188-195},
      doi = {10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12},
      eprint = {https://download.sciencepg.com/pdf/10.11648.j.hss.20231106.12},
      abstract = {Background: Meaning in life is an essential construct in individuals’ lives, related to individuals' overall well-being. Several factors can lead to meaning in life, among them is the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. According to the Self-Determination Theory, the tendency towards achieving meaning in life is innate in individuals’ motivational tendency to understand their surroundings and be a part of it. Moreover, the satisfaction of basic psychological needs is essential for a healthy well-being, and thus can contribute to meaning in life. Research purpose: The research purpose was to measure the relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life levels (general, situational, daily) and dimensions (purpose, significance, coherence) among Chinese undergraduate students. Methods: Basic psychological needs as categorized by the Self-Determination Theory are autonomy, competence, relatedness, and beneficence were measured in this research. Meaning in life levels, general, situational, and daily, and dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence were measured in this research. Three sub-studies were conducted with three different samples of Chinese undergraduate students. Age ranged between 17 and 26 years old, with a majority of females participants across the three sub-studies. Sub-study one included 173 participants and was a correlational study. It measured general basic psychological needs and meaning in life. Sub-study two included 367 participants and was also a correlational study. It measured situational basic psychological needs and meaning in life, as well, as meaning in life dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence. Sub-study three included 61 participants and was a longitudinal study. It measured daily basic psychological needs and meaning in life across seven days. Results: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life at the general, situational, daily levels and meaning in life dimensions. Autonomy predicted meaning in life dimensions (significance, purpose, coherence), competence predicted daily and coherence dimension of meaning in life. Additionally, relatedness predicted significance and coherence dimensions of meaning in life, and beneficence predicted daily and purpose dimension of meaning in life. Conclusions: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life. The research also confirmed the universality of basic psychological needs. There was a difference in basic psychological needs prediction role across meaning in life levels and dimensions. The research presented similar and different results from previous research, which the door to further research on the role of mediators in the BPN – MIL relationship.
    },
     year = {2023}
    }
    

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  • TY  - JOUR
    T1  - Meaning in Life as Predicted by Basic Psychological Needs: A Study with Chinese Undergraduate Students
    AU  - Saab Marwa
    AU  - Gai Xiaosong
    Y1  - 2023/11/13
    PY  - 2023
    N1  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12
    DO  - 10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12
    T2  - Humanities and Social Sciences
    JF  - Humanities and Social Sciences
    JO  - Humanities and Social Sciences
    SP  - 188
    EP  - 195
    PB  - Science Publishing Group
    SN  - 2330-8184
    UR  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20231106.12
    AB  - Background: Meaning in life is an essential construct in individuals’ lives, related to individuals' overall well-being. Several factors can lead to meaning in life, among them is the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. According to the Self-Determination Theory, the tendency towards achieving meaning in life is innate in individuals’ motivational tendency to understand their surroundings and be a part of it. Moreover, the satisfaction of basic psychological needs is essential for a healthy well-being, and thus can contribute to meaning in life. Research purpose: The research purpose was to measure the relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life levels (general, situational, daily) and dimensions (purpose, significance, coherence) among Chinese undergraduate students. Methods: Basic psychological needs as categorized by the Self-Determination Theory are autonomy, competence, relatedness, and beneficence were measured in this research. Meaning in life levels, general, situational, and daily, and dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence were measured in this research. Three sub-studies were conducted with three different samples of Chinese undergraduate students. Age ranged between 17 and 26 years old, with a majority of females participants across the three sub-studies. Sub-study one included 173 participants and was a correlational study. It measured general basic psychological needs and meaning in life. Sub-study two included 367 participants and was also a correlational study. It measured situational basic psychological needs and meaning in life, as well, as meaning in life dimensions, significance, purpose, and coherence. Sub-study three included 61 participants and was a longitudinal study. It measured daily basic psychological needs and meaning in life across seven days. Results: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life at the general, situational, daily levels and meaning in life dimensions. Autonomy predicted meaning in life dimensions (significance, purpose, coherence), competence predicted daily and coherence dimension of meaning in life. Additionally, relatedness predicted significance and coherence dimensions of meaning in life, and beneficence predicted daily and purpose dimension of meaning in life. Conclusions: The research found a relationship between basic psychological needs and meaning in life. The research also confirmed the universality of basic psychological needs. There was a difference in basic psychological needs prediction role across meaning in life levels and dimensions. The research presented similar and different results from previous research, which the door to further research on the role of mediators in the BPN – MIL relationship.
    
    VL  - 11
    IS  - 6
    ER  - 

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Author Information
  • School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China; Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology (Ministry of Education), Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China

  • School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China

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