Meaning of Life Experience: The Role of Religion and Attitudes towards Death

Lucija Bijelić, Ivana Macuka

Abstract


The experience of meaning in life can be defined as the extent in which people comprehend and see significance in their lives. Considering that it represents the experience of evaluation of purpose of one's existence and that it affects goal setting in one's own life, it undoubtedly has effects on the psychological well-being of an individual. Research in this area point on the significant role of various factors in the experience of meaning in life. The aim of this study was to examine the role of some demographic characteristics (gender, age and education), religiosity (religious beliefs, ritual religiosity and consequences of religiosity on social behavior) and attitudes toward death (fear of death, avoidance of death, acceptance of death, acceptance of death by escape, neutral acceptance of death) in explaining the experience of meaning in life in adults. The sample consisted of 433 participants (143 men and 290 women) mean age of 35, from different parts of Croatia. Used instruments included Purpose of life scale, Religiosity questionnaire and Attitudes toward death and dying questionnaire. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that fear of death and acceptance of death by escape are significant independent determinants of the experience of meaning in life. Dimensions of religiosity did not significantly independently contribute to explaining the experience of meaning in life. Obtained results indicate that participants who are less afraid of death and who see death as a continuation of life report greater experience of meaning in life.

Keywords


the experience of meaning in life; religiosity; attitudes toward death and dying; age and gender differences

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