Subjective well-being and meaning in life in a hostile world: Proposing a configurative perspective

Dov Shmotkin*, Amit Shrira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Within the framework of a conceptual model on the differential roles of subjective well-being (SWB) and meaning in life (MIL) in the face of adversity, this chapter presents SWB and MIL as discrete, yet conjoint, systems of adaptation. Whereas SWB holds the potential to make the hostile-world scenario (HWS) manageable through regulatory processes, MIL embodies the qualities that make the HWS interpretable through reconstructive processes. A review of pertinent evidence portrays the complementarity between SWB and MIL in terms of varying SWB-MIL interactive and combinatory manifestations. On this basis, we propose a configurative perspective that juxtaposes SWB and MIL by attending to their respective components, largely through the application of a person-centered approach to data. This perspective may point to the processes by which SWB and MIL complement each other (e.g., amplification, compensation) and may facilitate a further understanding of the variability and dynamics embedded in the SWB-MIL relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Experience of Meaning in Life
Subtitle of host publicationClassical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789400765276
ISBN (Print)9400765266, 9789400765269
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2013


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