Meaning in Life and Social Connectedness

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


    Anja Machielse explains the concept of meaning in life and the importance of social connectedness to the process of meaning-making in old age. Using “belongingness theory”, she clarifies the vital role interpersonal relationships play in personal life and how they contribute substantially to the capacity to make sense of one’s life. However, changes in older people’s lives may affect their experience of meaningfulness and their social needs. The confrontation with adverse life events in various areas has implications for all dimensions of meaning in life and leads to a greater need for emotional closeness. But whereas the need for profound, close relationships increases, the opportunities for maintaining relationships are fewer, and the risk of social, emotional, and existential loneliness increases. Since people who lack meaningful relationships also lose meaning, Machielse emphasizes the importance of social recognition and acceptance of older adults from the wider environment and society. Meaningful aging presupposes a social environment or humane society where older people feel included and accepted
    Original languageAmerican English
    Title of host publicationMeaning and Aging
    Subtitle of host publicationHumanist Perspectives
    EditorsJoachim Duyndam, Anja Machielse
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
    Number of pages59
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-55806-1
    ISBN (Print)978-3-031-55805-4
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2024

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Humanism and Atheism
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
    ISSN (Print)2634-6656
    ISSN (Electronic)2634-6664

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