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Free Content The impact of meaning in life and life goals on adherence to a tuberculosis medication regimen in South Africa

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SETTING: Out-patient tuberculosis (TB) clinics in Durban, South Africa.

OBJECTIVE: Health care provider concerns about persons with active TB defaulting on medications led to a study of adherence among persons receiving anti-tuberculosis therapy and, specifically, the relationships between meaning in life, life goals, sense of coherence, social support, symptom presence and intensity, and adherence in individuals diagnosed with TB.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used to gather self-reported data from TB-infected individuals who were enrolled in out-patient clinics. Data were collected from 159 Zulu and/or English-speaking persons who agreed to participate in the study.

RESULTS: A significant relationship was found between higher life goals and adherence to TB treatment (P = 0.027). Analysis of variance revealed that higher meaning in life ratings were significantly associated with older age (P = 0.007). Having children and children living in the same household were significantly associated with low meaning in life ratings (P = 0.006 and P ≤ 0.001, respectively), indicating that these individuals were more concerned about basic matters of home and sustenance.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that meaning in life and life goals may be useful for identifying individuals who will require additional support in adhering to anti-tuberculosis treatment.
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Keywords: South Africa; adherence; life goals; meaning in life; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: University of California–San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA 3: University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa 4: Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada 5: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: 01 October 2006

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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