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Advances in Psychological Science    2018, Vol. 26 Issue (12) : 2192-2203     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02192
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The cause of search for meaning in life: Life affirming or deficit correcting
Zhanhong LI1,Mengjiao ZHAO2,Huiying LIU3,Yanan LIU3(),Kaiping PENG1
1. Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2. School of Public Management, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450000, China
3. School of Education, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450000, China
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Abstract  

The search for meaning in life refers to the motivation and effort in understanding one’s own life, finding or establishing life purpose, or accomplishing life significance. Unfortunately, consensus is still lacking on its cause. Deficit correcting hypothesis holds that, meaning search primarily originates from its absence or deficit, and once meaning restored, the search would decay. As opposed, Life affirming hypothesis maintains that, meaning search stems from the motivation to consolidate and strengthen life experience, and therefore the effort is always incessant. This article discusses the evidence, deficiencies and applicable situations of above two perspectives, and on this base proposes an "antecedent factor model" to account for the determinants of search for meaning in life. This model hypothesizes meaning need as the premise of meaning search, and believe the motive to search for meaning would arise as long as the current "meaning level" is perceived to be lower or higher than the original state. Future research should develop multidimensional meaning search scales, strengthen experimental research, and explore factors that influence meaning search judgment.

Keywords meaning in life      search for meaning      life affirming      deficit correcting     
ZTFLH:  R395  
Corresponding Authors: Yanan LIU     E-mail: lynpsy@zzu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 30 October 2018
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Zhanhong LI
Mengjiao ZHAO
Huiying LIU
Yanan LIU
Kaiping PENG
Cite this article:   
Zhanhong LI,Mengjiao ZHAO,Huiying LIU, et al. The cause of search for meaning in life: Life affirming or deficit correcting[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2018, 26(12): 2192-2203.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02192     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2018/V26/I12/2192
  
  
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