International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

A Qualitative Study of Iranian Students’ Beliefs about Meaning of Life

Adeleh Samimi, Ph.D.

Shahid Beheshti University

Shahriar Shahidi, Ph.D.

Shahid Beheshti University

Leili Panaghi, Ph.D.

Shahid Beheshti University

Fatemeh Bagherian, Ph.D.

Shahid Beheshti University

Abbas Zabihzadeh, Ph.D.

Shahid Beheshti University

Seyed Mostafa Dastgheib, B.S.

Islamic Azad University


Having meaning in life plays an important role in mental health. Post-secondary education is a critical period in examining the meaning of life for students. Focusing on qualitative research in the meaning literature, there are limited studies that have dealt with the concept of meaning conceptualization through the lens of individuals’ experiences. The aim of this study was to explore meaning of life by a phenomenological lens. This was a qualitative research using latent thematic analysis method. We performed semi-structural interviews in five focus groups with 33 students (10 males and 23 females). The six-phase strategy of Clarke et al. (2015) was used to extract themes. After analyzing, the results were organized into nine overarching themes: nature of meaning, development of meaning, source of meaning, barriers of meaning, types of meaning, dynamics of meaning, component of meaning, gifts of meaning, and provisions of meaning. The nine themes are conceptualized as the Meaningful Life model. We discuss these results in the context of meaning of life theories and based on Iranian socio-cultural background.

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