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To belong is to matter: sense of belonging enhances meaning in life

By Nathaniel M. Lambert, Tyler F. Stillman, Joshua A. Hicks, Shanmukh Kamble, Roy F. Baumeister and Frank D. Fincham


In four methodologically diverse studies (N = 644), we found correlational (Study 1), longitudinal (Study 2), and experimental (Studies 3 and 4) evidence that a sense of belonging predicts how meaningful life is perceived to be. In Study 1 (n = 126), we found a strong positive correlation between sense of belonging and meaningfulness. In Study 2 (n = 248), we found that initial levels of sense of belonging predicted perceived meaningfulness of life, obtained 3 weeks later. Furthermore, initial sense of belonging predicted independent evaluations of participants essays on meaning in life. In Studies 3 (n = 105) and 4 (n = 165), we primed participants with belongingness, social support, or social value and found that those primed with belongingness (Study 3) or who increased in belongingness (Study 4) reported the highest levels of perceived meaning. In Study 4, belonging mediated the relationship between experimental condition and meaning

Topics: Religion, Emotion in relationships, Forgiveness, Attribution, Group processes, Self-categorization, 3207 Social Psychology
Publisher: 'SAGE Publications'
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0146167213499186
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