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Title: Meaning in life and psychological well-being in older adults
Author: Koutsopoulou, Zografo Gina
ISNI:       0000 0001 3602 2226
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 1998
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Personal meaning in life refers to the presence of consistent meaning in any domain of action and to a generalised sense o f purpose in life (Reker, 1992). The notion that a sense of meaningfulness is relevant to psychological well-being, and conversely that a sense o f meaninglessness is relevant to psychological distress is of central importance in a number o f influential and existential theories. The present investigation examined the differences and the patterns of associations between meaning in life, psychological well-being in differently functioning groups (a community comparison group, a psychiatric outpatients' group and a geriatric outpatients' group) of adults who are above the age of 65. The measures of meaning in life and psychological well-being which were used were: the Short Form 36 Items Health Status Questionnaire, Zung's Self Rating Anxiety and Depression Scales, the Purpose in Life Test, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale and the Life Attitude Profile-Revised. Three studies were conducted: two quantitative and one qualitative. Evidence is obtained that a) meaning in life and well-being differ significantly between differently functioning groups of older adults, b) meaning in life is consistently associated with measures of psychological well-being, c) meaning in life is a consistent predictor of psychological well-being d) changes in personal meaning were predicted from changes in mental health in a psychiatric outpatient group of older adults which had been targeted to change their mental health status through medical and psychotherapeutic treatment (indicating a direction o f effect) and that e) sources of meaning such as religion, relationships, and gaining life satisfaction from "here and now" appear to be important for older adults in order to maintain and/or find meaning in their lives. These findings lead strongly to the conclusion that there is a substantial and consistent relationship between meaning in life and psychological well-being in older adults which should be taken into consideration in clinical practice. It is concluded that the neglected meaning in life issue deserves greater scientific and therapeutic consideration. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Hewison, Jenny ; Martin, Carol Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available