Meaning in life is a measure similar to quality of life. It is a measure of the extent to which individuals feel their lives are worth living. The concept is complex and multidimensional, rooted in the holistic compilation of each person...mind, body, and spirit. Meaning in life may be a motivating force, providing direction and purpose in coping with life experiences.

In 1997, we designed and conducted a new type of study, "Meaning in Life in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis." We conducted follow-on or longitudinal studies in 1998 and 1999, administering the same study instrument to the original group of participants while accepting new participants. The follow-on studies examined the consistency and validity of the original1997 study results over time. We compared the results of each annual study to identify changes in individuals as well as the total study group. Longitudinal studies provide important information for healthcare providers in determining the best methods of healthcare delivery.

An assumption of this study is: just as a person seeks meaning in life during health, meaning in life is sought during illness. A person's perception of meaning in life may vary with major life experiences such as illness

The study analyzed possible influencing factors of meaning in life such as:
  • Level of functional ability in day-to-day activities of life

  • Sources of social support in daily life

  • Types of coping methods in dealing with stress

  • Religious attitudes and beliefs

  • Personal beliefs and attitudes that give meaning in life

Take Care!
Janice D. Schneider, RN, DNSc (candidate)
1998-2002 Meaning in Life Healthcare Research and Consultation. All rights reserved. Terms of use.