Meaning in life, anxiety, depression, and general health among smoking cessation patients

J Psychosom Res. 2009 Oct;67(4):353-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.02.006. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Objective: Psychosocial factors play a widely recognized role in health and health care utilization. The present study investigated relations among meaning in life, depression, anxiety, and social support with self-reported general health.

Method: Ninety-nine smoking cessation group patients were recruited to complete questionnaires during their third week of treatment.

Results: Depression was the strongest predictor of perceived general health. However, the interaction of people's experience of meaning in life and their propensity to seek deeper meaning in their lives predicted variance in perceived health above and beyond depression. Furthermore, propensity to seek meaning in life was the only psychosocial correlate of people's perceived social benefits of health care utilization.

Conclusion: Psychosocial factors, particularly depression and the two primary dimensions of meaning in life (experiencing and seeking), were related to perceived health. Meaning in life thus emerges as a variable worth further scrutiny in the health of clinical populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult