College Students’ Perceptions of Meaning in Life as a Mediator of Optimal Mental Health


Author: Shannon Hodges, Ph.D., LMHC

Category: Articles

Pages: 18

JEPP Issue: Vol. 9 No. 2

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This study focused on two dimensions of meaning in life, presence and searching, and their effects on psychological well-being in the domains of depression, anxiety,
and overall happiness among a college population. Because surveys on college and
university life have consistently illustrated students struggle with depression and
anxiety, this study targeted meaning in life as a potential protective factor.
Instruments utilized were the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ), Subjective
Happiness Scale (SHS), the Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition (BDI-II),
and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Results suggest that Meaning in Life (MIL)
is important for life satisfaction and as a buffer against depression. A moderate
negative relationship between depression and MIL (Presence) and depression and
happiness were also evident. Finally, results suggest a weak negative relationship
between anxiety and MIL (Search and Presence) and happiness.