Assessing meaning in life on an international scale: Psychometric evidence for the Meaning in Life Questionnaire-Short Form among Chilean households

Michael F. Steger, Emma Samman

Abstract


Several research projects have endeavored to articulate parsimonious and comprehensive accounts of wellbeing. A set of core concepts is seen to be emerging, including the psychological wellbeing module of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s international research on poverty. One of the core components of wellbeing according to this initiative and others is meaning in life. The present study focuses on a psychometric evaluation of a short measure of meaning in life to be used in international measurement of wellbeing, using data from a nationally-representative sample of households in Chile (N = 1,997). The factor structure of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire-Short Form (MLQ-SF) was confirmed, and shown to be invariant across gender and age. The items of the MLQ-SF formed a factor that was distinct from the items of other wellbeing measures that were assessed (psychological needs, life satisfaction, and domain satisfaction). Scores on the MLQ-SF were reliable in this sample, and correlated in the expected directions with other wellbeing indicators. We conclude that the MLQ-SF shows distinct promise as a measure of a core component of wellbeing—meaning in life—in international research.

 


Keywords


meaning in life; wellbeing; psychological needs; life satisfaction; Chile

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