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The self-described meaning making of Icelandic elderly in rehabilitation: A phenomenological study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, The Social Sciences of Religion, Psychology of Religions. University of Iceland. (D2 uppsats)
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose: In the present study factors that influence meaning making of elderly people were explored from the perspective of elderly people themselves.

Design and methods: The Vancouver School of doing phenomenology was the methodological approach of the study. The sample consisted of eight elderly people, ages 65-72, with mean age 67 years. These older adults were purposively sampled.

Results: The findings are presented within a tentative explanatory model with four main themes. The participants described their sense of meaning-making from a variety of standpoints, influenced mostly by foundational factors i.e. their ethical values; social self-image; health image; their self-assessment and role-models incorporated in their self-image; as well as their childhood as predetermining sense of meaning. Factors that positively influenced meaning making were e.g. practicing virtue; strengthening family bonds; working-through emotions and trauma; professional success; using humor as a response to stressors, meditation and relaxation; belief in higher deity; being hopeful; and regularly experiencing nature’s dimensions. Factors that compromised meaning making were e.g. intrusive thoughts; compassion pains; difficulties with expressing emotions; living with memories of trauma; family health problems; being disorganized; religious views that cause emotional pain; and isolation from coping resources. Finally, there were certain learning factors influencing conceptions of importance regarding meaning-making.

Implications: By studying the factors that influence meaning-making in elderly people as well as how meaning making is described by the elderly, hopefully a clearer understanding of the perceived relations between meaning making and health can be acquired. By examining how the elderly describe making meaning this study could contribute by generating hypotheses in the area of meaning making and health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 101 p.
Psychologia et sociologia religionum, ISSN 0283-149X
Keyword [en]
meaning making; gerontology; rehabilitation; sense of coherence, qualitative research.
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-215965OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-215965DiVA: diva2:688826
Subject / course
Psychology of religion
Educational program
Master Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
2013-01-18, Faculty of Theology, 751 05 UPPSALA, Sverige, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-01-20 Created: 2014-01-17 Last updated: 2014-01-20Bibliographically approved

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D2 uppsats MGG(1110 kB)89 downloads
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Gunnlaugsdottir, Maria
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