Discovery of meaning in response to illness has been linked to positive health outcomes. The mechanisms through which this occurs are unknown. This study tests a previously unexamined mechanism, engagement in healthier behaviors, which has been left uncontrolled in most studies. Forty-one HIV-infected women completed a one-month writing intervention. This writing was coded for signs of discovery of meaning. Adherence to medications was measured before (Time 1) and after (Time 2) the intervention. Women whose writing indicated that they had discovered meaning showed significantly greater adherence to their medical regimens at Time 2, controlling for Time 1 adherence. Discovery of meaning may result in positive health outcomes by leading individuals to engage in healthier behaviors.
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