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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Meaning and life purpose: the perspectives of post-transplant women.

  • Author(s): Evangelista, Lorraine S
  • Doering, Lynn
  • Dracup, Kathleen
  • et al.

PURPOSE:A descriptive, exploratory study was conducted to examine perceptions and meanings assigned to the experience of end-stage heart failure and transplant surgery in female recipients. METHODS:Data was collected from 33 female heart transplant recipients from a heart transplant clinic using quantitative and qualitative methods. Women completed the Life Attitudes Profile and Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist and participated in a semi-structured interview. RESULTS:Women on average had a meaning score of 30.64 +/- 8.32 (range, 10-43) and a life purpose score of 40.12 +/- 13.78 (range, 17-63). The participants reported high levels of anxiety, depression, and hostility. Women expressed feelings of fear and lack of control related to their heart disease and transplant; however, they also described optimism, faith, acceptance, altruism, self-transcendence, self-fulfillment, and changing life goals as strong motivators for recovery. CONCLUSION:Women experience emotional distress as much as and beyond 5 years after heart transplantation. Their sense of meaning and life purpose is relatively high and is positively informed by several motivating factors that serve as coping resources throughout the recovery process.

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