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The Human Question for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.).

By Paul T. P. Wong

New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 719 pp.

ISBN 978-0415876773 $79.95

Reviewed by William E. Smythe



Reviews the book, The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.) edited by Paul T. P. Wong (see record 2012-03755-000). The meaning of life is obviously a perennial human concern, but it has also been, especially within the past few decades, a very active area of psychological research. This edited volume is an extensive compilation of the latest work in this area. It is the second edition of a book originally edited by Wong and Fry (1998) and represents a considerable expansion and reworking of that original text: Whereas the Wong and Fry volume contained 19 chapters by 23 contributors and spanned 488 pages, the current edition contains 28 chapters (21 of which are new) by 45 contributors and runs a full 719 pages. One valuable feature of this new edition is the extensive cross-referencing among the chapters, which lends a much-needed sense of coherence to a volume whose scope is virtually encyclopedic. Taken together, the chapters in this volume make a compelling case that a sense of life’s meaning has very positive consequences for psychological well-being, health, human relationships, and adaptation to life throughout the life span.


The full review of this abstract has been published as Smythe, W. E. (2013). Finding meaning in meaning research. PsycCRITIQUES 58(12). Click here for the book review of The Human Quest for Meaning.