We investigated how meaning in life affects the link between stress and depression symptoms in adolescents. Adolescents (N = 177; 58.4% female, mean age = 14.75 years) reported on their meaning in life, exposure to stressors, and depression symptomatology. Higher meaning in life predicted lower depression symptoms. Importantly, meaning in life moderated the relationship between stress exposure and depressive symptoms: stress exposure was associated with higher depression when meaning in life was low, when meaning in life was high, there was no association between stressors and depression. These findings indicate the importance of having a sense of meaning in life adolescence. A positive relationship was found between stress exposure and depression symptomatology levels at a time-point seven months earlier. This lends a longitudinal perspective; meaning in life moderated a relationship that had been present for seven months. Therapeutic implications for protecting at-risk youth are discussed.
- Life meaning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health