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      Constructs of Meaning and Religious Transformation : Current Issues in the Psychology of Religion 

      Meaning Making: A Crucial Psychological Process in Confrontation with a Life Stressor

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          Making sense of the meaning literature: an integrative review of meaning making and its effects on adjustment to stressful life events.

          Interest in meaning and meaning making in the context of stressful life events continues to grow, but research is hampered by conceptual and methodological limitations. Drawing on current theories, the author first presents an integrated model of meaning making. This model distinguishes between the constructs of global and situational meaning and between "meaning-making efforts" and "meaning made," and it elaborates subconstructs within these constructs. Using this model, the author reviews the empirical research regarding meaning in the context of adjustment to stressful events, outlining what has been established to date and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current empirical work. Results suggest that theory on meaning and meaning making has developed apace, but empirical research has failed to keep up with these developments, creating a significant gap between the rich but abstract theories and empirical tests of them. Given current empirical findings, some aspects of the meaning-making model appear to be well supported but others are not, and the quality of meaning-making efforts and meanings made may be at least as important as their quantity. This article concludes with specific suggestions for future research.
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            Meaning in the context of stress and coping.

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              Making sense of loss and benefiting from the experience: two construals of meaning.

              Theoretical models of the adjustment process following loss and trauma have emphasized the critical role that finding meaning plays. Yet evidence in support of these models is meager, and definitions of meaning have been too broad to facilitate a clear understanding of the psychological process involved. Using a prospective and longitudinal study of people coping with the loss of a family member, we differentiate 2 construals of meaning--making sense of the event and finding benefit in the experience--and demonstrate that both independently play roles in the adjustment process following the loss. Results indicate that making sense of the loss is associated with less distress, but only in the 1st year postloss, whereas reports of benefit finding are most strongly associated with adjustment at interviews 13 and 18 months postloss.
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                Book Chapter
                March 13 2013
                April 29 2014
                : 167-184
                10.14220/9783737000994.167
                cc3aec24-c082-4773-bb5c-6fb58c27bfaf
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