Meaning in Life among Older Adults: An Integrative Model

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Meaning in life (MIL) among older adults has a significant physical and mental health impact. This study aimed to present an integrative model of factors that contribute to variability in MIL among older adults, including background characteristics (gender, age, employment status, religiosity), personality characteristics (locus of control, self-efficacy, optimism), and psycho-social factors (psychological distress and loneliness). Participants (751 older adults, Mage = 72.27, SD = 6.28; 446 female, 305 male) responded to a questionnaire in-person or online. Measures included: demographic variables, Short Scale for the Assessment of Locus of Control, New General Self-Efficacy Scale, Life Orientation Test–Revised, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, and Hughes Short Scale for Measuring Loneliness. Hierarchical regression revealed that younger and religious older adults reported higher MIL levels than older and non-religious older adults. Internal locus of control, higher self-efficacy, and higher optimism were linked to higher MIL levels. Higher psychological distress and loneliness were associated with lower MIL levels, with psychological distress contributing the most of all variables in the study model to explain the variance in MIL among older adults. Employed older old adults reported lower MIL levels than those unemployed. The study emphasizes the importance of an integrative approach in the examination of MIL among older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16762
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2022


  • integrative model
  • meaning in life
  • older adults
  • personality characteristics
  • psycho-social factors


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