Paths to Meaning

The pursuit of meaning is an important goal. It contributes to mental, physical, and social wellbeing. But how do people find and maintain meaning? Research from our lab indicates that most people report that family and other close relationships are their primary sources of meaning. However, the pursuit of meaning is also influenced by personality characteristics and individual differences related to cognition, emotion, and motivation.

Our lab explores the shared and distinct ways people seek and affirm meaning and how psychological, social, and cultural structures help protect people from psychological threats that compromise meaning. Below are some publications from recent projects.

Photo: J Routledge

Photo: J Routledge


Select Publications

Nelson, T. A., Abeyta, A. A. & Routledge, C. (in press). What makes life meaningful for theists and atheists? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Abeyta, A. & Routledge, C. (2018). The need for meaning and religiosity: An individual differences approach to assessing existential needs and the relation with religious commitment, beliefs, and experiences. Personality and Individual Differences, 123, 6-13. 

Abeyta, A., Routledge, C., & Sedikides, C. (2017). Material meaning: Narcissists gain existential benefits from extrinsic goals. Social Psychological and Personality Science8, 219-228.  

Routledge, C., Abeyta, A. A., & Roylance, C.  (2017). Further exploring the relationship between religion and existential health: The effects of religiosity and trait differences in mentalizing on indicators of meaning in life. Journal of Religion and Health, 56, 604-613.

Abeyta. A.A., Routledge C., Julh, J. & Robinson, M.D. (2015). Finding meaning through emotional understanding: Emotional clarity predicts meaning in life and adjustment to existential threat. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 973-983.