Self-regulation facilitates meaning in life

Daryl R. Van Tongeren, C. Nathan DeWall, Jeffrey D. Green, Athena H. Cairo, Don E. Davis, Joshua N. Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Meaning is a central feature of human life. Our overarching proposition is that self-regulation helps facilitate meaning in life. We propose that purposeful, effortful, and directive actions that regulate selfish impulses are necessary to continually develop a sense of meaning in life. We explain how self-regulatory processes map onto this process: the drive for meaning is governed by internalized standards of meaning, people monitor their experiences to ensure a fit between their experiences and standards of meaning, and strength is required for deliberative behaviors aimed at reaffirming and regaining meaning. Moreover, we outline various self-regulatory pathways to gain meaning via coherence, significance, and purpose. Finally, we suggest various ways to test and expand our model and hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • Meaning
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-regulation facilitates meaning in life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this