Understanding how adolescents achieve meaning in life has important implications for their psychological development. A social cognitive model of meaning development was tested by assessing psychological (self-efficacy, self-regulation and social comparison) and parental (parental responsiveness, demandingness, and social support) variables in a sample of 1944 adolescents (aged 15-19 years; 47.8% males) from secondary schools of the Middle Transylvanian Region, Romania. Both psychological and parental factors were significantly related to meaning in life. For both boys and girls, self-efficacy, self-regulation, and maternal responsiveness related positively with meaning in life, and paternal demandingness related inversely to meaning in life. However, social comparison related positively to meaning only among boys, and paternal responsiveness related positively to meaning only among girls. Results point to a possible meaning-supporting role played by social cognitive variables, as well as parental autonomy support. The gender differences observed here suggest that existing theories of meaning development may need to be elaborated to include family of origin and gender.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)