Navigation Links
Have a Purpose in Life? You Might Live Longer
Date:6/16/2009

Longevity joins physical, psychological health as potential benefits,,

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- If you have a purpose in life -- lofty or not -- you'll live longer, a new study shows.

It doesn't seem to matter much what the purpose is, or whether the purpose involves a goal that's ambitious or modest.

"It can be anything -- from wanting to accomplish a goal in life, to achieving something in a volunteer organization, to as little as reading a series of books," said study author Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"We found that people who reported a greater level of purpose in life were substantially less likely to die over the follow-up period -- only about half as likely to die over the follow-up period -- as compared to people with a lower level of purpose," Boyle said. The follow-up period averaged nearly three years.

Boyle and her colleagues studied 1,238 older adults already participating in two ongoing research studies at Rush, the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Minority Aging Research Study. The participants were all dementia-free when the study began and averaged 78 years old.

At the start of the study, the participants answered questions about their purpose in life, rating themselves on different areas meant to measure the tendency to derive meaning from life and to feel that one is working toward goals.

The average score on the sense-of-purpose evaluation was 3.7 of a possible 5, Boyle said.

When comparing scores, Boyle found that those with a higher sense of purpose had about half the risk of dying during the follow-up period as did those with a lower sense of purpose. And that was true, she said, even after controlling for such factors as depressive symptoms, chronic medical conditions and disability.

"What this is saying is, if you find purpose in life, if you find your life is meaningful and if you have goal-directed behavior, you are likely to live longer," she said.

Though much other research has found that having a purpose in life is crucial to maintaining psychological wellness and can be important for physical health as well, Boyle said she believes the new study is one of the first large-scale investigations to examine the link between life purpose and longevity.

The finding follows another recent study, done by others, in which the researchers found that retirees older than 65 who volunteered had less than half the risk of dying during about a four-year follow-up period as did their peers who did not volunteer their time.

What's the link? Boyle can't say for sure. But it could be that having a greater sense of purpose helps multiple systems of the body function better, conferring protection in the face of illness.

The findings make sense to Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. He said he often sees the effects of not having a purpose among older patients. "I see a number of people who have lost that purpose," he said. "Their health declines."

Still, he said, ''it's not clear there is cause and effect" between a sense of purpose and longevity. Perhaps the longevity could be explained by another variable the researchers did not examine, he said.

Boyle said that in future research they hope to find out if people can be inspired to have purpose in life, perhaps by being taught to set goals and work toward them.

More information

The U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service has more about the benefits of volunteering.



SOURCES: Patricia Boyle, Ph.D., neuropsychologist, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, and assistant professor, behavioral sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Gary Kennedy, M.D., professor, psychiatry and behavioral science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; June 15, 2009, Psychosomatic Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Having a higher purpose in life reduces risk of death among older adults
2. Scripps research scientists develop general-purpose method for detecting trace chemicals
3. Final Economic Stimulus Bill Permits Americans Personal Health Information to Be Sold for Research and Public Health Purposes WITHOUT Patients Consent
4. Special Purpose Needles Market to Reach $3.7 Billion by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc
5. MediPurpose Supports Diabetes Research Effort
6. MediPurpose Sells 500 Millionth Safety Lancet to IMCO Member MMS Medical
7. Just in Time for Fall Baking and Entertaining: The Sneaky Chef Tips Featuring Eagle Mills All-Purpose Flour made with Ultragrain(R)
8. Do You Want to Feel Inner Peace and Joy No Matter What is Happening in Your Life?
9. LOSERS: Are There Any In Your Life?
10. Who Decides How to Save Your Life?
11. Could Hydrogen Sulfide Hold the Key to A Long Life?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Have a Purpose in Life? You Might Live Longer
(Date:10/13/2017)... Nevada (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... Hemp CBD Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil ... required and providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have ... many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has ... period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl ... this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in ... like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United ... the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, ... spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to ... and tested to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... Oct. 11, 2017  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX) ... developed an innovative way to use nonlinear optical imaging ... of new drugs. ... Conference will show how researchers from BioPharmX and the ... School used a suite of imaging techniques in what ...
(Date:10/10/2017)...   West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: WST), ... administration, today shared the results of a study highlighting ... intradermal administration of polio vaccines. The study results were ... 2017 by Dr. Ondrej Mach , Clinical Trials ... (WHO), and recently published in the journal Vaccine. ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017 OBP ... self-contained, illuminating medical devices, today announced regulatory approval ... Surveillance Agency (or Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária ... single-use, cordless surgical retractor with integrated LED light ... access, illumination and exposure of a tissue pocket ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: