Purpose in Life and Caregiving

Continuing the series looking at Purpose in Life, I undertook a search in Medline for articles on ‘Purpose in Life’ in the context of caregiving. The search phrase “purpose in life” retrieved 324 papers some of which did not have abstracts. The abstracts of papers were examined for relevance to caregiving and resulted in 5 papers which were included in this brief overview of the literature.  In this study, researchers looked at the ability of people to disengage from their goals and adjust (or reengage) their goals in relation to caregiving for a family member with mental illness. The researchers found that goal reengagement was positively correlated with purpose in life but also with caregive burden. Interestingly though the researchers found that goal reengagement modified the relationship between caregiver burden and depressive symptoms. Paid carers for people with severe mental illness identified three types of meaning in relation to caregiving one of which was ‘existential purpose-in-life’ in this study.  Strength of Purpose in Life was positively correlated with perceived health in caregivers for spouses with advanced cancer in this study. In a Japanese study looking at caregivers for frail older adults, purpose in life in the caregiver modified caregiver burden. Both positive and negative appraisal of care were associated with sense of purpose in life in caregivers in this Japanese study. In conclusion, strength of Purpose in Life was positively correlated with perceived health in caregivers and also modified caregiver burden. Goal setting and more specifically adjustment of goals was correlated with strength of Purpose in Life and might represent an important mediator of the effect of Purpose in Life on health benefits in caregiving particularly in relation to the concept of locus of control. However it should be noted that this review has identified a small number of papers suggesting that further research is needed in this area before reliable conclusions can be drawn specifically regarding caregiving. Nevertheless the relationship between Purpose in Life and perceived health is replicated elsewhere in other populations.

 

Appendix – Blog Articles on Purpose in Life

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 1

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 2. Scales

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 3. Depression

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 4. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 5. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 6. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Older Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature Part 7. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan

Purpose in Life and Conditions of the Heart

Purpose in Life and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Having a Purpose in Life and the Risk of Cognitive Decline

Having a Purpose in Life Reduces the Risk of Death

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5 thoughts on “Purpose in Life and Caregiving

  1. Harry

    I find what works for me is a goal setting app called GoalsOnTrack and it has worked very well. It saves me a lot of time in keeping track of my goals and most importantly it helps me better organize my daily todos towards achieving my goals. You may want to check it out.

    Like

  2. Brent Oh

    . . Health is the purpose of life.
    You never feel suffering if there is no desire in your mind.
    . . Focus on “what you desired before two seconds” rather than “what you desire at now”.
    Your body can be busy attaining “what you desired before two seconds” even though there is no desire in your mind at now.

    Like

  3. Army Knowledge Online

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    Like

  4. Pingback: What is Purpose in Life? « The Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog

  5. Pingback: Science 2.0. Transformational Documents in Education. A New Use for the Creative Commons License « Marc T Farina

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