Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

3 2 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 4 Discussion The goal of this study was to investigate the associations between meaning in life, the components of self-transcendence, and the ethical education school subject that is focused on their development. These components were operationalized as prosocial behavior items. In the first study we hypothe - sized that prosocial behavior and students’ evaluation of ethical education as school subject would predict higher score in positive noetic attitudes (salutogenic noo-dynamics). The findings of the study partially support the theoretical conceptualization of relations between self-transcendence and quality meaning in life. Results indicate that positive (salutogenic) noetic qualities significantly grow with higher prosocial tendencies, the linear regression explains 16% of the variance. Adding the students’ ethical education evaluation, the equation was able to explain 25% of the variance of meaning in life. This is consistent with previous research, which advocated the role of prosocial behavior in developing the meaning in life (Klein 2016), as well as with the experiments with indirect effects when individuals primed with superhero images reported greater helping intentions relative to the control group, which, in turn, were associated with increased meaning in life (Van Tongeren et al . 2018). The associations are stronger in younger groups of students who are probably more sensitive to external formation of their beliefs and values, which are important building blocks of meaning in life. Unexpectedly, reflecting the second study, the teacher inter - personal behavior had no effects, neither direct nor indirect, on increasing the score in meaning in life scales. Yet, the correlations between teacher interpersonal behavior and ethical education evaluation were moderate to strong. At first glance, these findings may appear to be contradictory. However, from our point of view, the findings suggest growing autonomy in older adolescents. They appreciate positive teacher interaction during ethical education classes, but the development of their meaning in life is becoming more autonomous. Finally, the drop of model explanation level to 5% in equating the relations between prosocial behavior and meaning in life in the oldest group of adolescents is another surprising discovery of the second study. The reason probably lays in general prosocial development crisis as described in previous studies, when mid-adolescent prosocial behavior tends to slightly decrease in specific types like helping and comforting (Eisenberg and Fabes 1998), as well as helping of victims of aggression may actually decline across adolescence (Lindeman, Harakka, and Keltikangas-Jærvinen 1997). The process of growing the authenticity of one’s beliefs and values creates at this age a kind of asymmetry between the moral system of the child and the still unfinished system of the adult. 5 Conclusion The study contributes to the widening of our knowledge about the links between prosocial behavior and the development of meaning in life, and the specific function of ethical education in this process. However, the further research is needed to reveal deeper associations between ethical education and individual dimensions of meaning in life, as there are obvious insufficiencies in the school subject content and methods in terms of cognitive and motivation aspects of noetic qualities of life. To improve the impact of ethical education on meaning in life, it would be helpful to strengthen the links between self-transcending tendencies in children and their consciousness of eudaimonia. This could create the positive tension, called noo-dynamics, “ between the life as it is and the life as it is supposed to be ” (Viktor E. Frankl).