Both implicit and existential meaning are important constructs in fully understanding human experience. The editors of this volume present a forum for an array of viewpoints and recent research that address the notion of optimal human growth.
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About the Author
Gary T. Reker, Ph.D. was born in Hamm, West Germany in 1942. He obtained his B.A. (1965) from Mc Master University and his M.A.Sc. (1970) and Ph.D. (1973) from the University of Waterloo. He has been at Trent University since 1972 and retired as Professor Emeritus in Psychology in 2008. He is married to Dorothy and they have three grown daughters and six grandchildren.
As a life-span developmental psychologist, his teaching and research interests have focussed on the aging process, specifically on the role of personal meaning in life, optimism, death attitudes, resilience and creative coping in promoting successful aging. He has conceptualized and constructed numerous measuring instruments, has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals, authored several book chapters, and has edited (with Kerry Chamberlain) a book entitled, "Existential meaning: Optimizing human development across the life span" (Sage, 2000).
In 1981 and again in 1986, he was a Fellow of the Andrew Norman Institute for Advanced Studies in Gerontology and Geriatrics at the University of Southern California. In 1999, he was the Visiting Chair in Gerontology at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick. In 2007, he returned to the University of Southern California as a Visiting Scholar. He is actively involved in the Gerontological Society of America, the International Network on Personal Meaning, and the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review.
Kerry Chamberlain is Professor of Social and Health Psychology at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a critical health psychologist whose research focuses on health and the everyday, with specific interests in medications, media, materiality, mundane ailments, food, and disadvantage, and in innovative qualitative research methodology. He is the co-editor of Qualitative Health Psychology: Theories and Methods (Sage; with Michael Murray), co-editor of Existential Meaning: Optimizing Human Development Across the Life Span (Sage; with Gary Reker) and co-author of Health Psychology: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge; with Antonia Lyons).
Table of Contents
Foreword - James E BirrenIntroduction - Gary T Reker and Kerry ChamberlainPART ONE: THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ISSUESPhilosophical Foundations of Existential Meaning - Gary M KenyonMeaning as Movement - Hubert J M Hermans The Relativity of the MindTheoretical Perspective, Dimensions, and Measurement of Existential Meaning - Gary T RekerPART TWO: RESEARCH ON EXISTENTIAL MEANINGStructural Components of Personal Meaning in Life and their Relationship with Death Attitudes and Coping Mechanisms in Late Adulthood - Nancy Van Ranst and Alfons MarcoenDimensions and Discourses of Meaning in Life - Kay O'Connor and Kerry Chamberlain Approaching Meaning from Qualitiative PerspectivesAn Inquiry into Existential Meaning - Dominique L Debats Theoretical, Clinincal and Phenomenal PerspectivesThe Personal Meaning System in a Life-Span Perspective - Freya Dittman-Kohli and Gerben J WesterhofThe Development of a Culturally Sensitive Measure of Sources of Life Meaning - Edward Prager, Rivka Savaya and Leora Bar-TurPART THREE: APPLICATIONS AND INTERVENTIONSFinding Meaning in Caregivers of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease - Carol J Farran, Karen Lowe Graham and Dimitra Loukissa African American and White Caregivers' PerspectivesMaking Meaning within the Experience of Life-Threatening Illness - Doris D CowardReligion and Meaning in Late Life - Susan H Mc FaddenLogotherapeutic and 'Depth Psychology' Approaches to Meaning and Psychotherapy - David GuttmannPART FOUR: OVERVIEW AND NEW DIRECTIONSExistential Meaning - Gary T Reker and Kerry Chamberlain Reflections and Directions