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Fegg, Martin J.; Kramer, Mechtild; Bausewein, Claudia; Borasio, Gian D.: Meaning in life in the federal Republic of Germany: results of a representative survey with the Schedule for Meaning in Life Evaluation (SMiLE). In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2007, 5:59




Background: The construct "meaning- in- life" (MiL) has recently raised the interest of clinicians working in psycho-oncology and end-of-life care and has become a topic of scientific investigation. Difficulties regarding the measurement of MiL are related to the various theoretical and conceptual approaches and its inter- individual variability. Therefore the "Schedule for Meaning in Life Evaluation" (SMiLE), an individualized instrument for the assessment of MiL, was developed. The aim of this study was to evaluate MiL in a representative sample of the German population. Methods: In the SMiLE, the respondents first indicate a minimum of three and maximum of seven areas which provide meaning to their life before rating their current level of importance and satisfaction of each area. Indices of total weighting (loW, range 20-100), total satisfaction (loS, range 0-100), and total weighted satisfaction (loWS, range 0-100) are calculated. Results: In July 2005, 1,004 Germans were randomly selected and interviewed (inclusion rate, 85.3%). 3,521 areas of MiL were listed and assigned to 13 a- posteriori categories. The mean loS was 81.9 +/- 15.1, the mean loW was 84.6 +/- 11.9, and the mean loWS was 82.9 +/- 14.8. In youth (16-19 y/o), "friends" were most important for MiL, in young adulthood (20-29 y/o) "partnership"