Grateful and Existential Meaning across Cultures

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© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The current study defined two types of thinking about meaning in life and explored their cultural variations. Grateful meaning indicates thinking about meaning when people are satisfied with their life. Existential meaning signifies thinking about meaning when people are not satisfied with their life. Cultural variations in grateful and existential meaning were addressed by employing the latest waves of World Values Survey. For grateful meaning, some Asian and Central American countries showed higher scores and some ex-Communist countries scored lower. Financial satisfaction and some social factors such as religion, national identity and particularized trust were significant positive predictors to grateful meaning. For existential meaning, European countries showed lower scores. Economic factors such as GDP per capita and financial satisfaction showed negative correlations with existential meaning, whereas religion, national identity, and particularized trust showed positive relationships. These results suggest that sense of security represented by financial satisfaction and in-group memberships were critical for grateful meaning, whereas economic factors and secular values negatively contributed to existential meaning.

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Journal of Constructivist Psychology

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