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17-01-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 7/2019 Open Access

Mindfulness 7/2019

Cross-Lagged Analyses Between Life Meaning, Self-Compassion, and Subjective Well-being Among Gifted Adults

Mindfulness > Uitgave 7/2019
Bernadette Vötter, Tatjana Schnell
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Highly intellectually gifted adults seem to be at a higher risk for existential crisis. However, not much is known about what contributes to their life meaning and/or well-being. This study examined if self-compassion may be a resource leading to a happy and/or meaningful life, or vice versa.


Cross-lagged associations between meaningfulness, subjective well-being, and self-compassion were examined. Additionally, we tested for differences concerning these constructs between the gifted and general population. One hundred highly intellectually gifted adults (55% female; mean age 43 ± 9 years) participated in a two-wave (4 years) online study with a cross-lagged design.


Gifted adults experienced significantly lower levels of meaningfulness (T1: d = 0.55, 95% CI [− 0.76/− 0.33]; T2: d = 0.39, 95% CI [− 0.60/− 0.18]), subjective well-being (T1: d = 1.11, 95% CI [− 1.32/− 0.90]; T2: d = 0.82, 95% CI [− 1.03/− 0.61]), and self-compassion (T1: d = 1.21, 95% CI [0.99/1.42]; T2: d = 0.82, 95% CI [0.61/1.02]) compared to the general population. Cross-sectional analyses showed positive moderate to strong associations between the constructs. Cross-lagged analysis revealed that a sense of meaningfulness was a significant predictor of subjective well-being over time (β = 0.36, p < .05), after controlling for autoregressive effects. No cross-lagged effects between self-compassion and meaningfulness or self-compassion and subjective well-being were established.


Highly intellectually gifted adults might find it taxing to experience life meaning, subjective well-being, and self-compassion. Results suggested the importance of strengthening gifted adults’ life meaning which in further consequence may support highly gifted individuals in living a happier life.

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