The Relationship Between Meaning in Life, Emotions and Psychological Illness: The Moderating Role of the Effects of the Economic Crisis

Christos Pezirkianidis, Anastassios Stalikas, Evgenia Efstathiou, Eirini Karakasidou


Despite the negative effects of financial crisis in a great variety of positive, individual variables and psychopathology, no study has ever examined the mediating role of economic crisis variables in the relationship between positive variables such as meaning in life and positive emotions and psychopathology. The present study aims in examining these relationships. Participants included 4.597 Greek adults and the study conducted between 2010 and 2014. The Modified Differential Emotions Scale was used to assess positive and negative emotions, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire was used to assess presence of meaning and searching for meaning in life, the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale was used to measure the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress and an Economic Crisis Effects Scale was constructed in order to measure the practical and emotional economic crisis consequences and the fear to make changes in life. Results revealed that women scored significantly higher than men in psychopathology variables, negative emotions, searching for meaning in life and financial crisis variables. It was also found that employed scored significantly higher than unemployed in presence of meaning in life, whereas unemployed scored higher on psychopathology variables, negative emotions, searching for meaning in life and economic crisis consequences. Further, results showed the existence of composite prediction models among meaning in life, psychopathology and emotion variables. It was also found that economic crisis consequences, fear to make changes in life and unemployment were significant mediators of each of the predictive relationships between psychopathology, meaning in life and emotion variables.


economic crisis; meaning in life; mental health; Moderation Analysis; positive emotions; unemployment