Objective: Previous research investigating the dual components of purpose and search for meaning have suggested a differential relationship with mental health. This research investigated the relationship between purpose and search with psychological distress and wellbeing. The influence of high or low presence on search and mental health was also investigated.
Method: The Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ) was administered to an adult community sample (n=243), along with the Kessler-10, Life Stress Test, Coping Strategies for Adults - Second Edition, and Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving.
Results: For the overall group, higher search was significantly correlated with higher psychological distress (r = .25 to .35), and lower levels of positive emotions (r=-.24 to -.32), relationship satisfaction (r=-.13 to -.26), meaning (r=-.29), and accomplishment (r=-.19 to -.24). Higher search was correlated with non-productive coping (r = .26). No significant correlations were found with life stress, or engagement. Low presence was positively associated with psychological distress, and negatively associated with positive emotions and relationships. Higher presence was significantly related to lower levels of life stress, and positively associated with learning and accomplishment.
Conclusion: Presence and search were differentially related to psychological distress and wellbeing using PERMA. Additionally, presence levels altered these relationships.