Meaning in life and resilience among teachers

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Maria Platsidou, Athena Daniilidou


Meaning in life is a significant resource in the resilience process, supporting the use of adaptive behaviors and enhancing the feeling of wellbeing. As such, it could be critical for teachers who encounter many stressors threatening their life quality and work productivity. This study aimed to investigate how teachers' levels of meaning in life relate to their resilience. Data were collected from 299 teachers using the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (assessing presence of and search for meaning) and the Multidimensional Teacher Resilience Scale (assessing protective factors related to motivational and professional, social, and emotional resilience). As predicted, presence of meaning had medium-sized positive correlations with the resilience factors, whereas search for meaning had low correlations with social resilience and professional-motivational resilience and no correlation with emotional resilience. Using K-means cluster analysis, teachers were grouped into three clusters according to their scores in the two meaning dimensions. The cluster of teachers reporting both high presence of and high search for meaning showed the highest scores on the resilience factors, followed by the cluster including teachers with high presence and low search. In conclusion, our results emphasized the important role of presence of meaning in strengthening resilient responses; also, searching for meaning, when combined with a high sense of meaning, relates to better use of the resilience protective factors and resources. As to the study implications, a meaning-centered approach to building resilience in teachers is suggested and discussed.

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