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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).
Cross-sectional study using questionnaires administered in a structured interview format.
Nine residential care settings in Flanders, Belgium.
Convenience sample of 138 older adults (+65) living in residential care with a diagnosis of AD.
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).
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).
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.
We investigate to what extent pain in older individuals is predicted by on the one hand chronic morbidity as a resistance deficit, and on the other hand psychological resistance resources and the sense of coherence. For the first time, we tested the salutogenic hypothesis that the sense of coherence mediates the relationship between resources/deficits and pain.
In our questionnaire study, we assessed selected psychological resistance resources (self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, optimism, and social support), the number of self-reported medical diagnoses of chronic illness, the sense of coherence, and pain (SF-36 Bodily Pain subscale) in a sample of 387 older persons (at the mean age of 73.8 years).
Using hierarchical regression, we found that morbidity and sense of coherence were the only significant predictors of pain, with morbidity showing the strongest effect. Using path analysis, the sense of coherence was a mediator of the relationship between resistance resources/deficits and pain.
With respect to our analytical model, in which pain experience was the criterion variable, morbidity and the sense of coherence are important predictors of pain. Moreover, we found evidence for the salutogenic idea that the sense of coherence represents a mediator variable as it pools resistance/deficits influences on pain. We recommend a prospective design to explore these assumed causal chains in future research.
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