Association Between The Search For Meaning In Life And Well-Being In Chinese Adolescents

Li LIN, Song WANG, Jingguang LI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Theories suggest that having a meaningful life has beneficial effects on adolescent well-being. Encouraging adolescents to search for meaning in their lives is therefore well advised. However, whether and how the search for meaning in life (SMIL) is related to adolescent well-being is unclear. Thus, this study tested the following two hypotheses, based on a sample of 1539 Chinese adolescents in the tenth grade (Mage = 15.8 years): 1) the SMIL promotes adolescent well-being (“SMIL-as-promotor”), and 2) social connectedness mediates the link between the SMIL and adolescent well-being (“connectedness-as-mediator”). Multiple regression analyses revealed that SMIL was positively associated with life satisfaction, self-esteem and positive affect, and negatively associated with negative affect in the adolescents who exhibited low levels of presence of meaning; thus supporting the SMIL-as-promotor hypothesis. Mediation analyses revealed that SMIL was related to social connectedness (i.e., parent-child communication and peer relationship), which, in turn, was linked to the presence of meaning and hedonic well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, self-esteem, positive affect, and negative affect). These findings support the connectedness-as-mediator hypothesis. The implications of these findings for youth prevention programs and intervention services are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2291-2309
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number6
Early online date1 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Projects of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research of Yunnan Province (AFSZ18030, QN2014012).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V.


  • Adolescent well-being
  • Chinese adolescents
  • Presence of meaning in life
  • Search for meaning in life
  • Social connectedness


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