The Mediating Role of Meaning in the Association between Stress and Health.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Stress is a common feature of life and has routinely been linked with negative health outcomes. However, meaning has been identified as a possible buffer against stress. PURPOSE: The purpose of the current study was to examine whether the relationship between stress and health was mediated by meaning in life. METHODS: Drawing from Wave 1 of the Landmark Spirituality and Health Study, a nationally representative sample of adults, participants (N = 1871) reported their level of stress in the past 12 months, current meaning in life, health (measured as minor symptoms, major conditions, and overall health), and provided a blood sample for biomarker of immune system functioning (i.e., presence of Epstein-Barr virus antibodies). RESULTS: Results revealed an indirect effects model in which stress was inversely associated with meaning. Higher meaning was related to better self-reported health (across minor, major, and overall health measures), which, in turn, was associated with better immune system functioning. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that part of the negative effect of stress on health is accounted for by reduced meaning.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Van Tongeren, DR; Hill, PC; Krause, N; Ironson, GH; Pargament, KI

Published Date

  • October 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 775 - 781

PubMed ID

  • 28281134

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-4796

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s12160-017-9899-8


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England