The experience of depression, meaning in life and self-transcendence in two groups of elders
AdvisorReed, Pamela G.
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractDepression is a common source of morbidity and mortality in elders and has a significant impact on their quality of life. Meaning in life and self-transcendence, indicators of spirituality, have been linked to the experience of well-being in the elderly. Nurses are challenged to find ways to tap these natural health resources as a means of addressing the serious problem of depression in the aged. The purpose of this study was to explore and compare patterns of depression, meaning in life and self-transcendence as manifested in instruments and life stories of depressed and nondepressed elders. Life span development psychology, existential psychology and narrative theory provided the conceptual framework for this triangulated study of depression, meaning in life and self-transcendence in those over 75 years of age. The Geriatric Depression Scale, Purpose in Life Scale and Self-Transcendence Scale were completed by 77 people over the age of 75 and living in one of three retirement communities. Those individuals achieving the five highest and five lowest scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale were interviewed. Significant negative relationships were found between depression and meaning in life, and between depression and self-transcendence. A significant positive relationship was found between meaning in life and self-transcendence. Narrative analysis of the interviews generated 11 themes of meaning in life. Different patterns of behaviors and perceptions related to life story themes of meaning in life and self-transcendence were identified in the Depressed and Nondepressed Group. The study conclusions support the importance of meaning in life and self-transcendence for well-being in the elderly.
Degree ProgramGraduate College