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Reconstruction of Meaning in Life: Meaning Made during the Pandemic of COVID-19

Changkai Chen1,*, Yongjing Zhang1, Anran Xu2, Xing Chen1, Jingru Lin3

1 Department of Psychology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
2 University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
3 Shenzhen Research Institute, Nanjing University, Shenzhen, China

* Corresponding Author: Changkai Chen. Email: email

(This article belongs to the Special Issue: Psychological assistance for public during the pandemic of COVID-19)

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2020, 22(3), 173-184.


Two studies were conducted to compare the differences between the source and significance of the meaning of life amongst Chinese people before and after the pandemic of COVID-19. In study 1, we have developed a scale regarding the Chinese Sources of Meaning in Life. By using this scale, we investigated people under COVID-19, and found six main sources of meaning in life: Autonomy, Family Responsibility, Social Responsibility, Religious Beliefs, Simpler Lifestyle as well as Joy and Wealth. In Study 2, we compared the scores of the source of life’s meaning shown in the two different samples regarding the situations before and after the epidemic. The results showed that, under the COVID-19 epidemic, Chinese people pay more attention to social responsibilities and personal autonomy, as well as the concept of living a simpler life. Meanwhile, attention towards other meanings in life such as wealth, social status, religion etc. was reduced or abandoned. It can be seen that, in traumatic circumstances, people do in fact try to achieve goals in order to alleviate negative emotions and achieve psychological balance. Conflict is shown between the trauma caused by COVID- 19 and people’s original sources of meaning in life, creating an effect of impact and dispel, which urges individuals to put forward meaning-making efforts in order to improve the sense of meaning of life, change the general goal and other meaning made state, and in the end achieve psychological adaptation.


Cite This Article

APA Style
Chen, C., Zhang, Y., Xu, A., Chen, X., Lin, J. (2020). Reconstruction of meaning in life: meaning made during the pandemic of COVID-19. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 22(3), 173-184.
Vancouver Style
Chen C, Zhang Y, Xu A, Chen X, Lin J. Reconstruction of meaning in life: meaning made during the pandemic of COVID-19. Int J Ment Health Promot. 2020;22(3):173-184
IEEE Style
C. Chen, Y. Zhang, A. Xu, X. Chen, and J. Lin "Reconstruction of Meaning in Life: Meaning Made during the Pandemic of COVID-19," Int. J. Ment. Health Promot., vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 173-184. 2020.


cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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