Meaning of Education and Wellbeing: Understanding and Preventing the Risk of Loss of Meaning in Students

TitreMeaning of Education and Wellbeing: Understanding and Preventing the Risk of Loss of Meaning in Students
Type de publicationArticle
Année de publication2022
Titre de la revueFrontiers in Psychology
Auteur(s)Baatouche, N.

The phenomenon of malaise is on the rise at universities, reflecting a deteriorating psychological state that is a combination of anxiety and stress factors. This psychological and emotional upheaval within students is indicative of a fundamental existential issue. In fact, hidden behind the choice of an educational program is the significance given by the student to their life goals. It is this dimension of attributing meaning to one’s education and, more broadly, to one’s life (the existential dimension) that we have sought to explore. We hypothesized that a stable investment in one’s life goals and a sense of psychological wellbeing during one’s studies could be fostered by reflective work done alongside the educational process. Our research took the form of a mixed methodological approach to the attribution of meaning to education, including an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA), and the experimentation of support for the meaning of education. Four dimensions of meaning were found to be observable in varying degrees in all students, each playing a specific role. Moreover, this research has confirmed that the meaning of studies is not to be understood solely in terms of education, but is part of a singular life story. Reflective work, developing meaning, facilitated by others (advisor, teacher, etc.) can help preserve/restore the feeling of wellbeing. It should be noted that, as the work presented in this article predates the pandemic, we will not address the amplifying effects of this health crisis on existential issues, which some recent studies are beginning to highlight.