Importancia del constructo sentido de la vida en diferentes ámbitos psicológicos aplicados / Importance of the meaningful construction of life in different applied areas

Antonio Sánchez Cabaco



Se lleva a cabo una revisión de la literatura sobre las variables asociadas al constructo sentido de la vida, pilar central de las corrientes psicológicas en sus inicios pero que sigue teniendo una utilidad heurística en la investigación actual. Ciertamente permanece constante la evaluación a través del test PIL (Purpose in Life), dado que es el instrumento más utilizado, con adaptaciones en diferentes idiomas y con buenos indicadores de calidad psicométrica. Los resultados encontrados en la investigación evidencian que la presencia de sentido es un amortiguador ante situaciones de estrés o de enfermedad física y su ausencia, vacío existencial, disminuye la resiliencia y la adaptación a los retos cotidianos o extraordinarios. Se discuten, finalmente algunas consideraciones aplicadas desde posicionamientos más actuales de la Psicología Positiva, pero que tienen un enorme paralelismo con las formulaciones iniciales de V.E. Frankl.

Palabras clave: sentido vital, felicidad, bienestar, salud


A literature review is carried out on the variables associated with the meaning construct of life, the central pillar of the psychological currents in its beginnings but which continues to have a heuristic utility in current research. Certainly the evaluation is constant through the PIL (Purpose in Life) test, given that it is the most widely used instrument, with adaptations in different languages and with good psychometric quality indicators. The results found in the research show that the presence of meaning is a buffer against situations of stress or physical illness and its absence, existential vacuum, reduces resilience and adaptation to daily or extraordinary challenges (catastrophes, mourning, etc.). Finally, we discuss some considerations applied from more current positions of Positive Psychology, but that have an enormous parallelism with the initial
formulations of V.E. Frankl.

Keywords: Meaning of life, happiness, well-being, health



Texto completo:



Aiena, B. J. (2014). Meaning, resilience, and traumatic stress following the gulf oil spill: A study of mississippi coastal residents seeking mental health services (Tesis doctoral). University of Mississippi. Oxford, Misisipi. Available from PILOTS: Published International Literature On Traumatic Stress. (1660016308; 94056). Recuperado de

Ardelt, M. (2008). Wisdom, religiosity, purpose in life, and death attitudes of aging adults. En Annual meeting of the american sociological association (pp. 139-158) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, Mahwah, NJ. Recuperado de

Baiocco, R., Crea, G., Fizzotti, E., Gurrieri, G., Laghi, F. & Paola, R. (2009). Meaning in life and attachment to parents/peers among italian high school students. International Forum for Logotherapy, 32(2), 65-72. Recuperado de

Baumeister, R. F., Exline, J. J. & Sommer, K. L. (1998). The victim role, grudge theory, and two dimensions of forgiveness. Dimensions of forgiveness: Psychological research and theological perspectives, 79-104.

Ben-Ari, O., Shlomo, S. B. & Findler, L. (2012). Personal growth and meaning in life among first-time mothers and grandmothers. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(5), 801-820. doi: 9291-5.

Bensimon, M. & Gilboa, A. (2010). The music of my life: The impact of the musical presentation on the sense of purpose in life and on self-consciousness. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 37(3), 172-178. doi:

Boehm, J. K.& Kubzansky, L. D. (2012). The heart's content: The association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychological Bulletin, 138(4), 655-691. doi:

Cabaco, A.S. y Fernández, L.M. (2015). Introducción: Las intervenciones intergeneracionales como terapias no farmacológicas para la prevención de la dependencia y la promoción de la autonomía personal. En A.S. Cabaco (Dir.). Prismas intergeneracionales sobre la memoria autobiográfica: investigación y propuestas (pp.12-39). Salamanca: Publicaciones de la UPSA

Cheraghi, M., Kalantari, M., Moulavi, H., & Shafti, A. (2009). The effects of cognitive-humanistic group therapy on depression and purpose in life of the depressed female students. Journal of Psychology, 13(2), 153-169. Recogido de

Chow, E. O. & Ho, H. C. (2012). The relationship between psychological resources, social resources, and depression: Results from older spousal caregivers in hong kong. Aging & Mental Health, 16(8), 1016-1027. doi:

Cotton Bronk, K. (2014). Purpose in life: A critical component of optimal youth development. New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media, doi:

Cranney, S. (2013). Do people who believe in god report more meaning in their lives? the existential effects of belief. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(3), 638-646. doi:

Crumbaugh, J. C. & Maholick, L. T. (1964). An experimental study in existencialism: The psychometric approach to Frankl´s concept of noogenic neurosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20(2), 200-207. doi: http: //

de Melo, R., Lustosa Pimenteira, do, C. E., Gouveia, V. V. & Silva, H. D. M. (2013). O efeito do estresse na qualidade de vida de idosos: O papel moderador do sentido de vida. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 26(2), 222- 230. doi:

DeWitz, S. J., Woolsey, M. L. & Walsh, W. B. (2009). College student retention: An exploration of the relationship between self-efficacy beliefs and purpose in life among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 50(1), 19-34. doi:

Drescher, C. F., Baczwaski, B. J., Walters, A. B., Aiena, B. J., Schulenberg, S. E., y Johnson, L. R. (2012). Coping with an ecological disaster: The role of perceived meaning in life and self-efficacy following the gulf oil spill. Ecopsychology, 4(1), 56-63. doi:

Fahlman, S. A., Mercer, K., Gaskovski, P., Eastwood, A. E. & Eastwood, J. D. (2009). Does a lack of life meaning cause boredom? results from psychometric, longitudinal, and experimental analyses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28(3), 307-340. doi:

Gama, G., Barbosa, F. & Vieira, M. (2014). Personal determinants of nurses' burnout in end of life care. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18(5), 527-533. doi:

García-Alandete, J., Gallego-Pérez, J. F. &Pérez-Delgado, E. (2009). Sentido de la vida y desesperanza: Un estudio empírico. Universitas Psychologica, 8(2), 447-454. Recuperado de

García-Alandete, J., Lozano, B. S., Nohales, P. S. & Martínez, R. E. (2013). Rol predictivo del sentido de la vida sobre el bienestar psicológico y diferencias de género. Acta Colombiana De Psicología, 16(1), 17-24.

García-Alandete, J., Martínez, E. R., Lozano, B. S. & Gallego-Pérez, J. F. (2011). Diferencias asociadas al sexo en las puntuaciones total y factoriales del purpose- in-life test en universitarios españoles. Universitas Psychologica, 10(3), 681-692. Recogido de

García-Alandete, J., Martínez, E. R., Nohales, P. S. & Lozano, B. S. (2013). Orientación religiosa y sentido de la vida. Universitas Psychologica, 12(2), 363-374. Recogido de

Garner, C., Byars, A. & Garner, K. (2009). A small investigation of purpose in life among reservation-dwelling native american elderly. International Forum for Logotherapy, 32(1), 31-36. Recuperado de

Hagedorn, L. S. (2012). The meaning of academic life. Review of Higher Education: Journal of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, 35(3), 485-512. doi:

Haq, F., Behan, C., McGlade, N., Mulkerrin, U., O'Callaghan, E., Kinsella, A., . . . Gill, M. (2009). Factors that influence patients' attitudes to antipsychotic medication. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 26(1), 6-11. Recogido de

Haugan, G. (2014a). The relationship between nurse–patient interaction and meaning-in-life in cognitively intact nursing home patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(1), 107-120. doi:

Haugan, G. (2014b). Meaning-in-life in nursing-home patients: A correlate with physical and emotional symptoms. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(7-8), 1030-1043. doi:

Haugan, G. (2014c). Life satisfaction in cognitively intact long-term nursing-home patients: Symptom distress, well-being and nurse-patient interaction. Beyond money: The social roots of health and well-being. (pp. 165- 211) Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, NY.

Haugan, G. (2014d). Meaning-in-life in nursing-home patients: A valuable approach for enhancing psychological and physical well-being? Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(13-14), 1830-1844. doi:

Hedberg, P., Brulin, C., Aléx, L. & Gustafson, Y. (2011). Purpose in life over a five-year period: A longitudinal study in a very old population. International Psychogeriatrics, 23(5), 806-813. doi:

Heintzelman, S. J., Trent, J. & King, L. A. (2013). Encounters with objective coherence and the experience of meaning in life. Psychological Science, 24(6), 991-998. doi:

Heintzelman, S. J. & King, L. A. (2014). Life is pretty meaningful. American Psychologist, 69(6), 561-574. doi:

Hill, C. E., Kline, K., Bauman, V., Brent, T., Breslin, C., Calderon, M., . . . Knox, S. (2015). What’s it all about? A qualitative study of meaning in life for counseling psychology doctoral students. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 28(1), 1-26. doi:

Ishida, R. & Okada, M. (2011). Factors influencing the development of "purpose in life" and its relationship to coping with mental stress. Psychology, 2(1), 29-34. doi:

Kim, S., Hayward, R. D. & Reed, P. G. (2014). Self-transcendence, spiritual perspective, and sense of purpose in family caregiving relationships: A mediated model of depression symptoms in korean older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 18(7), 905-913. doi:

Kleftaras, G. & Psarra, E. (2012). Meaning in life, psychological well-being and depressive symptomatology: A comparative study. Psychology, 3(4), 337-345. doi:

Koenig, H. G., Berk, L. S., Daher, N. S., Pearce, M. J., Bellinger, D. L., Robins, C. J., . . . King, M. B. (2014). Religious involvement is associated with greater purpose, optimism, generosity and gratitude in persons with major depression and chronic medical illness. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 77(2), 135-143. doi:

Kusano, T. (2012). Hikikomori in university students and their purposes and meaning of life. Japanese Journal of Counseling Science, 45(1), 11-19. Recogido de

Lyons, G. C. B., Deane, F. P., Caputi, P. & Kelly, P. J. (2011). Spirituality and the treatment of substance use disorders: An exploration of forgiveness, resentment and purpose in life. Addiction Research & Theory, 19(5), 459-469. doi:

Makola, S. (2014). Sense of meaning and study perseverance and completion: A brief report. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 24(3), 285-287. Recogido de

Martos, T., Thege, B. K. & Steger, M. F. (2010). It’s not only what you hold, it’s how you hold it: Dimensions of religiosity and meaning in life. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(8), 863-868. doi:

Mausch, K. (2009). Noopsychosomatic disorders in the light of empirical studies. Existential Analysis, 20(1), 35- 49. Recogido de

Mersdorf, A., Vargay, A., Horváth, Z. & Bányai, É. (2013). „Mit gondol, van-e az életének célja és értelme? ha igen, mi?” emlõdaganatos betegek és egészséges kontrollszemélyek interjúkérdésekre adott válaszainak összehasonlítása. Mentálhigiéné És Pszichoszomatika, 14(4), 345-380.

Min, J., Jung, Y., Kim, D., Yim, H., Kim, J., Kim, T., . . . Chae, J. (2013). Characteristics associated with low resilience in patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation, 22(2), 231-241. doi:

Moe, A., Hellzen, O., Ekker, K. & Enmarker, I. (2013). Inner strength in relation to perceived physical and mental health among the oldest old people with chronic illness. Aging & Mental Health, 17(2), 189-196. doi:

Moffic, H. S. (2011). Finding more meaning in USA psychiatry. International Forum for Logotherapy, 34(2), 100- 102. Recogido de

Noblejas de la Flor, M. A. (1994). Logoterapia. Fundamentos, principios y aplicación. Una experiencia de evaluación del “logro interior de sentido”. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid.

Oishi, S. (2012). Individual and societal well-being. En K. Deaux y M. Snyder (Eds). The oxford handbook of personality and social psychology. (pp. 597-622) New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Recuperado de

Palgi, Y. (2013). Ongoing cumulative chronic stressors as predictors of well-being in the second half of life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1127-1144. doi:

Park, C. L. & George, L. S. (2013). Assessing meaning and meaning making in the context of stressful life events: Measurement tools and approaches. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 483-504. doi:

Pearson, M. R., Brown, D. B., Bravo, A. J. & Witkiewitz, K. (2015). Staying in the moment and finding purpose: The associations of trait mindfulness, decentering, and purpose in life with depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and alcohol-related problems. Mindfulness, 6(3), 645-653. doi: 0300-8.

Peplińska, A. & Wołoszko, K. (2014). Occupational activity and subjective perception of the quality of life in persons with motor disabilities in poland. Acta Neuropsychologica, 12(3), 329-346. Recogido de

Peter, C., Müller, R., Cieza, A., Post, M. W. M., van Leeuwen, Christel M. C., Werner, C. S. & Geyh, S. (2014). Modeling life satisfaction in spinal cord injury: The role of psychological resources. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation, 23(10), 2693-2705. doi:

Peter, C., Müller, R., Post, M. W. M., van Leeuwen, Christel M. C., Werner, C. S. & Geyh, S. (2015). Depression in spinal cord injury: Assessing the role of psychological resources. Rehabilitation Psychology, 60(1), 67-80. doi:

Pietrzak, R. H., Tsai, J., Kirwin, P. D. & Southwick, S. M. (2014). Successful aging among older veterans in the united states. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(6), 551-563. doi:

Pietrzak, R. H. & Cook, J. M. (2013). Psychological resilience in older U.S. veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Depression and Anxiety, 30(5), 432-443. doi:

Pishyar, R. (2012). Using de-reflection techniques to affect clinical change in depression in an afghan refugee community.International Forum for Logotherapy, 35(2), 85-90. Recuperado de

Ryś, E. (2009). The sense of life as a subjective spiritual human experience. Existential Analysis, 20(1), 50-68. Recuperado de

Salvino, E. (2014). De Frankl a Seligman. Una apuesta por lo bueno y significativo de la vida. Sao Paulo, Brasil: Editora Kiron.

Schnetzer, L. W., Schulenberg, S. E. & Buchanan, E. M. (2013). Differential associations among alcohol use, depression and perceived life meaning in male and female college students. Journal of Substance use, 18(4), 311-319. doi:

Sinnott, J D. (Ed). (2013) Positive psychology: Advances in understanding adult motivation. Springer Science + Business Media, New York, NY. doi:

Smith, B. W., Tooley, E. M., Montague, E. Q., Robinson, A. E., Cosper, C. J. & Mullins, P. G. (2009). The role of resilience and purpose in life in habituation to heat and cold pain. The Journal of Pain, 10(5), 493-500. doi:

Steger, M. F. (2013). Assessing meaning and quality of life. En K. F. Geisinger , B. A. Bracken, J. F Carlson, J. C. Hansen, N. R. Kuncel, S. P. Reise, y M.C. Rodriguez (Eds), APA handbook of testing and assessment in psychology, vol. 2: Testing and assessment in clinical and counseling psychology. (pp. 489-499) Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:

Stillman, T. F., Baumeister, R. F., Lambert, N. M., Crescioni, A. W., DeWall, C. N. & Fincham, F. D. (2009). Alone and without purpose: Life loses meaning following social exclusion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 686-694. doi:

Taubman – Ben-Ari, O. (2014). How are meaning in life and family aspects associated with teen driving behaviors? Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 24, 92-102. doi:

Taubman-Ben-Ari, O. (2011). Is the meaning of life also the meaning of death? A terror management perspective reply. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(3), 385-399.

Taubman-Ben-Ari, O. & Weintroub, A. (2008). Meaning in life and personal growth among pediatric physicians and nurses. Death Studies, 32(7), 621-645. doi:

Volkert, J., Schulz, H., Levke Brütt, A. & Andreas, S. (2014). Meaning in life: Relationship to clinical diagnosis and psychotherapy outcome. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(6), 528-535. doi:

Wnuk, M., Marcinkowski, J. T. & Fobair, P. (2012). The relationship of purpose in life and hope in shaping happiness among patients with cancer in poland. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 30(4), 461-483. doi:

Wnuk, M. & Marcinkowski, J. T. (2014). Do existential variables mediate between religious-spiritual facets of functionality and psychological wellbeing. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(1), 56-67. Recuperado de

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.


Instituto de Teología “San Pedro de Alcántara


 Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Extremadura Universidad Francisco de Vitoria


Gestión editorial:

Editorial Sindéresis

Derechos de autor:

Reconocimiento CC BY

© 2016, del Instituto Teológico “San Pedro de Alcántara” de Cáceres, la Universidad de Extremadura, la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria y Editorial Sindéresis


Instituto Teológico de Cáceres

Servicio de Publicaciones
Casa de la Iglesia
C/ General Ezponda, 14
E-10003 – Cáceres (España)