Family and Meaning: Examining the Four Needs for Meaning as Mediators

  • Nathaniel M. Lambert, PhD School of Family Life, Brigham Young University
  • Roy F. Baumeister, PhD Social Psychology Area Director and Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar, Florida State University
  • Tyler F. Stillman, PhD Business School and Department of Psychology, Southern Utah University
  • Frank D. Finchman, PhD Eminent Scholar and Director of the FSU Family Institute, Florida State University


In a series of three studies we investigated the relationship between family and meaning and tested whether Baumeister’s (1991) four needs for meaning (purpose, values, efficacy, and self-worth) mediated this relationship. Study 1 (n=228) showed that participants assigned to think about their family reported more meaning in their lives than those assigned to think about a control topic. Using correlational data, Study 2 (n=220) found that the four needs for meaning, self-worth, values, efficacy, and purpose, mediated this relationship. Study 3 (n=128) provided experimental data to demonstrate that thinking about family results in higher meaning, efficacy, and purpose. Purpose mediated the relationship between family and meaning. Several avenues for future research are outlined.

Jul 1, 2012
How to Cite
LAMBERT, Nathaniel M. et al. Family and Meaning: Examining the Four Needs for Meaning as Mediators. International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 14, july 2012. ISSN 1708-1696. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 feb. 2020.