Developmental, Genderial and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Meaning

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ryan M. Niemiec, Ricardo Tarrasch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Meaning in life is considered one of the cornerstones of human existence. The construct of meaning in life is currently conceptualized as composed of three dimensions: coherence, purpose, and mattering. Studies assessing the relationship between these dimensions and other personal attributes are scarce. This study aimed at assessing the levels of these dimensions as a function of age, gender and country using a large group of participants. The sample included 23,641 adults across ages and countries, that were recruited online. Overall, participants rated the dimension of purpose highest, followed by coherence, and then mattering, however these differences interacted with age, gender, country and income. The most prominent effect of age was in coherence, with a steady rise throughout life. Men were higher than women in coherence, while women were higher in mattering. The Philippines, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates showed the highest scores in the three dimensions, while Japan, the United Kingdom, and Finland showed the lowest. The sample studied was not a global representative sample, rather it was a global convenience sample. The study only involved those who could write/understand English (those coming to take the VIA Inventory of Strengths), there was much larger representation in English-speaking countries (namely U.S., Australia, Canada, and U.K.). Despite this limitation, this study extends existing literature by offering new insights into the developmental, cultural, and gender-related aspects of meaning components. These insights serve as potential avenues for further exploration and validation, thus making a valuable contribution to the field of meaning in life, both in theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2583-2597
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Coherence
  • Cross-cultural
  • Lifespan development
  • Mattering
  • Meaning in life
  • Purpose
  • Significance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental, Genderial and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Meaning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this