Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology

First Advisor

Stefan E. Schulenberg

Second Advisor

John J. Green


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Meaning in life, resilience, and hardiness have been conceptualized in a variety of ways. Some researchers theorize that these constructs share significant overlap. The goal of the current study was to examine how much overlap exists between these concepts. Three thousand and ten participants from a university in the Midwest and a university in the South completed measures of meaning in life, resilience, and hardiness. It was hypothesized that some items from these measures would create a unidimensional model while some items would create multidimensionality. Hypotheses that incorporated both models were important as there is disagreement within the literature with regard to how much overlap exists between these concepts. To assess construct overlap, factor-loading patterns were analyzed using bi-factor exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and bi-factor confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) statistics. Following data cleaning analyses, 804 participants were used in the bi-factor EFA analyses and 804 participants for the bi-factor CFA. All items from the meaning in life and resilience measures and 13 out of 18 items from the hardiness measure loaded onto the general factor. This general factor was conceptualized as global resilience. With regards to multidimensionality that presented in the model, one resilience measure comprised the second factor, all but one item from the other resilience measure comprised the third factor, and finally the fourth factor within the model was comprised of one meaning in life item and six items from the hardiness measure. This study was important, as it was the first to support that the three constructs share significant overlap and create a general factor. A more cohesive conceptualization of this general factor is needed to create greater scientific clarity within the literature.



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