A sense of community is known to be a protective factor for the well-being of older adults and meaning in life associated with positive mental outcomes. Nevertheless, there is a need to expand the knowledge of the role of a sense of community in meaning in life, particularly among older adults. Intending to broaden the empirical understanding from this perspective, the current study examined the mediating roles of optimism, loneliness, and psychological distress in the association between a sense of community and meaning in life. Participants included 740 community dwelling Israeli older adults (M = 71.96; SD = 5.81). Participants completed questionnaires on a sense of community, optimism, loneliness, psychological distress, meaning in life, and sociodemographic characteristics. A positive association was found between a sense of community with optimism, and a negative association with loneliness. A negative association between optimism with psychological distress and a positive link between loneliness with psychological distress was found, while a higher level of psychological distress was associated with a lower level of meaning in life. Practitioners should focus interventions with older adults on developing a sense of community, with the aim to promote optimism and, at the same time, reduce loneliness and thus decrease psychological distress while strengthening meaning in life.
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