Finding a Life Worth Living: Meaning in Life and Graduation from College

Joshua Wilt*, Wiebke Bleidorn, William Revelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Graduation from college is an important milestone for young adults, marked by mixed emotions and poignancy, and therefore is an especially salient context for studying meaning in life. The present research used experience-sampling methodology to examine the antecedents and consequences of students' experience of meaning in life over the course of graduation. Participants were 74 graduating students who provided a total of 538 reports over the span of 3days, including commencement day. Increased levels of state meaning in life during the days around commencement were linked to spending time with people in general and with family in particular, and thinking about one's years in college. Thinking about one's years in college mediated the effects of present company on state meaning in life. Graduates who experienced higher levels of state meaning in life during the days around their commencement ceremony had higher trait levels of meaning in life 1week following commencement. We discuss how making meaning of a poignant experience has implications for healthy psychological development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-167
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Keywords

  • Experience-sampling methodology
  • Graduation
  • Meaning in life
  • Multilevel modelling
  • Sociogenomic theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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