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Meaning in life matters for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease in residential care: associations with life satisfaction and depressive symptoms

  • Laura Dewitte (a1) (a2), Mathieu Vandenbulcke (a1) (a3) and Jessie Dezutter (a1)

Abstract

Objectives:

To examine whether previously established associations between experiences of meaning in life on the one hand and life satisfaction and depressive symptoms on the other hand are transferable to a population of older residential care residents with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Design:

Cross-sectional study using questionnaires administered in a structured interview format.

Setting:

Nine residential care settings in Flanders, Belgium.

Participants:

Convenience sample of 138 older adults (+65) living in residential care with a diagnosis of AD.

Measurements:

Meaning in life was measured using the Presence of Meaning (PoM) subscale of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire-Short Form, life satisfaction was measured using the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), depressive symptoms were measured using a five-item short form of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and general cognitive status was measured using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Results:

Controlling for demographic variables (age, sex, and marital status) and cognitive status, meaning in life scores were positively predictive of life satisfaction scores and negatively predictive of depressive symptoms. Post-hoc analyses suggested a possible interaction between meaning in life and cognitive status in predicting both outcomes of psychological functioning (GDS and SWLS).

Conclusion:

The presence of meaning in life is related to important well-being outcomes for older adults with AD living in residential care. More awareness for the importance of existential themes and interventions fostering meaning might be warranted for this population.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Laura Dewitte, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102 − box 3717, Belgium. Phone: +32 16/37.42.54. Email: laura.dewitte@kuleuven.be.

References

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Meaning in life matters for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease in residential care: associations with life satisfaction and depressive symptoms

  • Laura Dewitte (a1) (a2), Mathieu Vandenbulcke (a1) (a3) and Jessie Dezutter (a1)

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