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Meaning in life among adolescent leaders, non-leaders, and deviants Piquette, Edmond Andre Albert

Abstract

This study compares meaning in life scores of leader, non-leader, and deviant adolescents. Two thousand nine hundred and forty-nine secondary school students took the Purpose In Life Test. The students were divided into groups according to their behavior, their level of academic achievement, their sex, and grade level. Results: The leader group had the highest meaning in life score, the non-leader group had the second highest meaning in life score, and the deviant group had the lowest meaning in life score. The higher achieving group did not have higher meaning in life score than did the lower achieving group. Male and female students did not have significantly different meaning in life scores. Grade eight and nine students had higher meaning in life scores than did grade ten, eleven, and twelve students. These findings provide empirical evidence in support of several inferences based on Frankl's theory of meaning in life. First, a higher level of social and athletic involvement is associated with high meaning in life and a sense of usefulness and identity. Secondly, existential vacuum underlies deviant behavior of students who isolate themselves by violating the rules and sanctions of the school. Thirdly, academic success or subject matter mastery was not related to high meaning in life. Fourthly, questioning the meaning of life is most apt to occur during the later stages of adolescent development, namely, during grades ten, eleven, and twelve. Replication of this study would determine whether or not these findings and inferences are true of adolescents in general.

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