Advertisement

Relationships of Purpose in Life with Mental Health Among Older Adults: Links to Health and Social Behaviors

  • Ellen E. Lee
    Correspondence
    Send correspondence and reprint requests to Ellen E. Lee, M.D., Assistant Professor in Residence, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #0664, La Jolla, CA.
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

    Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

    Desert-Pacific Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA
    Search for articles by this author
Published:October 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2022.10.001
      Purpose in life (PIL) is often defined as how an individual experiences their life as being directed, organized, and motivated by important goals. More broadly, PIL can also be conceptualized in relation to health and well-being, meaningful goals and purpose, inner strength, social relationships, mattering to others, and spirituality and religiousness. Many studies have shown how PIL is associated with these positive outcomes among older adults. Older adults with high PIL have lower mortality rates and higher rates of successful aging.
      • Pietrzak RH
      • Levy BR
      • Tsai J
      • et al.
      Successful aging in older US veterans: results from the 2019-2020 National Health and Resilience in veterans study.
      The impact of PIL on psychiatric illnesses and suicidality has not been systematically studied, however enhancing PIL may be an important consideration for high-risk groups of older adults.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Pietrzak RH
        • Levy BR
        • Tsai J
        • et al.
        Successful aging in older US veterans: results from the 2019-2020 National Health and Resilience in veterans study.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021; 29: 251-256
        • AshaRani PV
        • Lai D
        • Koh J
        • et al.
        Purpose in life in older adults: a systematic review on conceptualization, measures, and determinants.
        Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022; 19
        • Koizumi M
        • Ito H
        • Kaneko Y
        • et al.
        Effect of having a sense of purpose in life on the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
        J Epidemiol. 2008; 18: 191-196
        • Guimond AJ
        • Shiba K
        • Kim ES
        • et al.
        Sense of purpose in life and inflammation in healthy older adults: a longitudinal study.
        Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2022; 141105746
        • Hafez D
        • Heisler M
        • Choi H
        • et al.
        Association between purpose in life and glucose control among older adults.
        Ann Behav Med. 2018; 52: 309-318
        • Fredrickson BL
        • Grewen KM
        • Coffey KA
        • et al.
        A functional genomic perspective on human well-being.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110: 13684-13689
        • Mei Z
        • Lori A
        • Vattathil SM
        • et al.
        Important correlates of purpose in llife identified through a machine learning approach.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021; 29: 488-498

      Linked Article

      • Perceived Purpose in Life, Mental Health, and Suicidality in Older U.S. Military Veterans: Results From the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study
        The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
        • Preview
          Perceived purpose in life (PIL) refers to the extent to which a person's life is motivated by personally-valued goals and life aims.1 It is theorized to facilitate adaptive adjustment to stressful life events and promote better overall health and well-being. PIL has been linked to reduced risk of incident physical disability,2 and meta-analyses have demonstrated that higher levels of PIL are linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular events, dementia, and all-cause mortality.3,4 PIL has also been shown to be inversely associated with numerous indicators of distress,5 and there is evidence that PIL can reduce the risk of relapse in people with a history of alcohol use disorder.
        • Full-Text
        • PDF