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How Search for Meaning Interacts with Complex Categories of Meaning in Life and Subjective Well-Being?

  • Bruno Figueiredo Damásio (a1) and Sílvia Helena Koller (a2)


This study sought to assess how the search for meaning interacts with crisis of meaning and with different categories of meaning in life (meaningfulness, crisis of meaning, existential indifference, and existential conflict). Furthermore, the moderation role of search for meaning between the relation of categories of meaning and subjective well-being (SWB) was also evaluated. Participants included 3,034 subjects (63.9% women) ranging in age from 18 to 91 (M = 33.90; SD = 15.01) years old from 22 Brazilian states. Zero-order correlations and a factorial MANOVA were implemented. Positive low correlations were found for search for meaning and crisis of meaning (r = .258; p < .001). Search for meaning presented a small-effect size moderation effect on the relation of the different categories of meaning with subjective happiness, F(6, 3008) = 2.698, p < .05; η2 = .004, but not for satisfaction with life, F(6, 3008) = .935, p = .47; η2 = .002. The differences on the levels of subjective happiness of those inserted in existential indifferent and conflicting categories differ depending on the levels of search for meaning. Further directions for future studies are proposed.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Bruno Figueiredo Damásio. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Institute of Psychology. Department of Psychometrics. Pasteur Avenue, 250. 22290-902. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). E-mail:


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