This paper presents a two-phase cross-sectional study aimed at examining the possible mitigating role of perceived meaning of life and representation of death on psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. The first phase involved 219 healthy participants, while the second encompassed 30 cancer patients. Each participant completed the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP), the Testoni Death Representation Scale (TDRS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Distress Thermometer (DT). The primary analyses comprised (1) correlation analyses between the overall scores of each of the instruments and (2) path analysis to assess the indirect effect of the PMP on DT score through anxiety and depression as determined by the HADS. The path analysis showed that the PMP was inversely correlated with depression and anxiety, which, in turn, mediated the effect on distress. Inverse correlations were found between several dimensions of the PMP, the DT, and the HADS–Anxiety and HADS–Depression subscales, in both healthy participants and cancer patients. Religious orientation (faith in God) was related to a stronger sense of meaning in life and the ontological representation of death as a passage, rather than annihilation. Our findings support the hypothesis that participants who represent death as a passage and have a strong perception of the meaning of life tend to report lower levels of distress, anxiety, and depression. We recommend that perceived meaning of life and representation of death be more specifically examined in the cancer and palliative care settings.

Meaning of life, representation of death, and their association with psychological distress

Ines Testoni
;
Lucia Ronconi;Maddalena Rodelli;BARACCO, GLORIA ANGELA;GRASSI, LUIGI
2017

Abstract

This paper presents a two-phase cross-sectional study aimed at examining the possible mitigating role of perceived meaning of life and representation of death on psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. The first phase involved 219 healthy participants, while the second encompassed 30 cancer patients. Each participant completed the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP), the Testoni Death Representation Scale (TDRS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Distress Thermometer (DT). The primary analyses comprised (1) correlation analyses between the overall scores of each of the instruments and (2) path analysis to assess the indirect effect of the PMP on DT score through anxiety and depression as determined by the HADS. The path analysis showed that the PMP was inversely correlated with depression and anxiety, which, in turn, mediated the effect on distress. Inverse correlations were found between several dimensions of the PMP, the DT, and the HADS–Anxiety and HADS–Depression subscales, in both healthy participants and cancer patients. Religious orientation (faith in God) was related to a stronger sense of meaning in life and the ontological representation of death as a passage, rather than annihilation. Our findings support the hypothesis that participants who represent death as a passage and have a strong perception of the meaning of life tend to report lower levels of distress, anxiety, and depression. We recommend that perceived meaning of life and representation of death be more specifically examined in the cancer and palliative care settings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3256908
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