Krause, Neal. 2007. "Evaluating the stress-buffering function of meaning in life among older people." Journal of Aging and Health, 19(5): 792-812.
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to see if a strong sense of meaning in life helps older adults cope more effectively with the effects of lifetime trauma. Methods: The data were obtained from a nationwide longitudinal survey of older adults (N = 1,093). Questions were asked about traumatic events arising at any point in an individual's life and depressive symptoms. Results: The findings suggest that meaning tends to offset the deleterious impact of traumatic life events on depressive symptoms. However, these effects were observed only when the cross-sectional data were examined. In contrast, statistically significant stress-buffering effects were not present when the impact of trauma and meaning on change in depressive symptoms over time was evaluated. Discussion: The findings from this study provide a basis for devising interventions to help older people cope more effectively with the effects of traumatic events that have arisen in their lives.