Meaning-in-life in nursing-home patients: a valuable approach for enhancing psychological and physical well-being?

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Aims and objectives

To investigate the associations between meaning-in-life and physical, emotional, functional and social well-being in a cognitively intact nursing-home population.


Meaning-in-life is understood as an influential psychological variable that promotes health and well-being; meaning-in-life has been found to be a mediating variable in both psychological and physical health.

Design and methods

The study employed a cross-sectional design. Data were collected in 2008 and 2009 using the purpose-in-life test and the FACT-G quality-of-life questionnaire. A total of 250 cognitively intact nursing-home patients who met the inclusion criteria were approached and 202 attended. The hypothesised relationships between meaning and multidimensional well-being were tested by means of structural equation modelling.


The structural equation modelling model fit well with the present data, showing significant direct relationships between meaning-in-life and emotional and functional well-being, and a significant mediated influence of meaning on social and physical well-being.


Meaning-in-life is associated with all dimensions of well-being and likely plays an important role in both emotional and physical well-being.

Relevance to clinical practice

Facilitating patients' perceived meaning-in-life might help ease emotional distress and physical symptoms, thus fostering well-being in cognitively intact nursing-home patients. Therefore, advancing staff nurses' competence in facilitating meaningful involvement, connectedness, nurse–patient interaction and symptom management is important for care quality and global well-being in nursing homes.

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