About the YMI

Phase I – Finalized

Identifying Drivers

Phase I focused on data collection to explore what constitutes meaning in the youth. The objective was to identify drivers and sub-drivers of meaning in the youth population.

Data Collection

During the Phase I study, the YMI team partnered with organizations in Denmark, India, and Norway for data collection purposes. In Denmark, a partnership was established with UNICEF Denmark to collect data through its Rights School Program implemented in different regions in the country. In India, the YMI team partnered with Morsel to collect data in schools in the Maharashtra state. Finally, in Norway, a partnership was established with Gleding to collect data in schools throughout the country.

In total, responses were collected from a total of 10,006 children and adolescents between 8 and 15 years.

Questions asked to the children are outlined below: 


Q1: What engages you or what do you think is interesting to do?

Name as many things as you like.


Q2: When you are sad, what cheers you up?

Name as many things as you like.


Q3. Please score from 1-10 the seven options below according to what you think adds most meaning to your life.

(10 = most meaning and 1 = least meaning)

  • Doing things you feel are good for your family, friends, and/or community.
  • Having your basic needs met, like having enough food, water, a house, a school.
  • Feeling that you are being guided/receive support from the people around you.
  • Spending time with family and friends.
  • Learning new things and growing up.
  • Doing activities that you think are fun – e.g., doing sports, playing games, or practicing your hobby.
  • Something else not on this list.

Data from Phase I of the YMI can be found here.

Analysis and Identification of Drivers

The responses were analyzed using OpenAI and natural language processing in content and sentiment analysis. Drivers and sub-drivers of meaning were identified for each country independently.

Once drivers and sub-drivers were identified for each country, the YMI team conducted a thorough desk review to validate the findings with academic literature. The drivers and sub-drivers were also discussed with the YMI Advisory Council for validation and interpretation purposes. Findings of the desk review and feedback from the Advisory Council informed the final drivers of meaning identified in Phase I: Purpose, Self-Care, Social Connectivity, and Physical and Emotional Engagement.

Sub-drivers can be found here.

Phase I of the YMI supported unfolding the meaning of life in children and informed Phase II of the YMI.

Phase II – Ongoing ♦

Piloting The YMI

Phase II of this study is dedicated to the development of a universal index to measure meaningfulness in the youth population, the YMI tool.

To further strengthen and legitimize the methodology, a thorough desk review was conducted focusing on the relationship between meaningfulness and the drivers and sub-drivers identified in Phase I.

YMI Tool Development Process

The YMI tool was developed using the identified drivers and sub-drivers of meaning in Phase I. 

Each statement in the tool is aligned to one sub-driver of meaning. These sub-drivers describe various aspects of youth well-being, which the statements aim to capture.

To develop the tool, we first solicited statements from a database of items provided by experts in the field for each driver area, such as international or multicultural purpose studies or validated surveys conducted in the areas of youth purpose and meaning. We then meticulously reviewed each statement within the YMI tool, considering its context, wording, and thematic content. Thereafter, we consulted the statements with the YMI Advisory Council and the Youth Advisory Council to measure the feasibility and gage understanding of the individual statements in capturing the meaning behind each sub-driver and item in the tool. These experts provided invaluable insights. Through several consultations and input from our in-country partners, we validated our choices, refined our mappings, and ensured that our sub-driver assignments resonated with existing research and theoretical frameworks.

You can find the YMI tool here.

Data Collection

Data collection using the YMI tool will take place throughout 2024. As of now, data has been collected in Ukraine in collaboration with UNICEF Ukraine U-report. Countries in which data collection is upcoming include Algeria, India, Morocco, and Peru. We are currently looking for partners to embark in the YMI project and support us collecting data in other parts of the world.

Join the YMI movement here.  


Data collected using the YMI tool in 2024 are analyzed at the country and worldwide level.

YMI Ukraine

Preliminary findings of the YMI in Ukraine, conducted in collaboration with UNICEF Ukraine U-report, are outlined below:

You can have a look at the detailed results produced by UNICEF Ukraine U-report here.