The sense of meaning and purpose of hospice family members during the grief process.
AuthorStevenson, Sue Louise Mahan.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was designed to assess the process of meaning loss for family members who cared for their terminally ill loved ones during the grief process as well as determine factors that might be related to loss of meaning. The Purpose in Life Test (PIL) was used as the dependent measure. The independent variables consisted of age, education level, relationship to patient, gender, ethnicity, whether counseling was received, types of counseling received, and time between diagnosis, death and the present. The data were gathered on 87 caregivers who were participating in the St. Mary's Hospice program in Tucson, Arizona. All caregivers were over age 18 and between three and thirteen months past the death of their loved one. The data analyzed in four stages beginning with the development of descriptive statistics. During the second stage a correlation matrix was constructed and explored. A multiple regression was performed during the third stage to assess which of the independent variables could explain any variance obtained with the dependent measure. In the last stage a factor analysis was done and compared with a factor structure from previous research with the PIL Test. Nine hypotheses were tested producing the following results: Meaning in life tended to be higher for those less close in relationship to the patient such as nieces, nephews, and in-laws. There was no significant difference between a caregiver being a spouse, child, sibling or parent of the deceased loved one and meaning in life. There was no significant difference in age, education level, gender, ethnicity, whether counseling was received, types of counseling received and time between diagnosis, death and the present and meaning in life. The factor analysis revealed a five factor solution. It was concluded that the PIL Test taps two factors that can be labeled Purpose in Life and Contentedness With Life. The overall conclusion of the study was that caregivers in the sample possess a unique and similar sense of meaning in life that may be due to a sharing a common experience. There may also be some unifying factor about those choosing to enter a Hospice program that may attract a homogeneous group of people.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration