Purpose and Meaning Help Seniors Live Longer

Connection to Longevity




A study of 9,050 people by researchers at Britain’s University College of London (UCL), Princeton University and Stony Brook University has determined that a sense of purpose and meaning in the lives of older individuals can significantly reduce the risk of earlier mortality. The researchers called this greater sense of purpose “evaluative well-being”.

The study followed subjects that averaged 65 years old at the start for eight-and-a-half years. During that period, 9 percent of those with the highest levels of well-being died. Among those with the lowest levels of well-being, 29 percent passed away during the same period.

The study was led by Professor Andrew Steptoe, director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, who explains, “These analyses show that the meaningfulness and sense of purpose that older people have in their lives are also related to survival.” The mechanisms for this effect are still largely unknown. “There are several biological mechanisms that may link well-being to improved health, such as through hormonal changes or reduced blood pressure,” he says.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

City Homesteading

Across the country, people in communities of all sizes are crafting ways to grow food, build eco-homes and live in harmony with the environment and each other.

Big Breakfast, Lower Body Mass

People that make breakfast their largest meal of the day have lower body mass, while those that make dinner the biggest meal are likely to weigh more, a recent study concluded.

Zinc Inhibits Throat Cancer

University of Texas researchers have found that zinc supplements can inhibit or slow the growth of esophageal cancer cells.

Moderate Exercise Guards Against Depression

A mere one hour of exercise a week reduced depression in 12 percent of Norwegian study participants.

Antidepressants in Pregnancy Linked to Autism

Children born to Swedish mothers that took antidepressants when pregnant had a slightly higher risk of autism compared to mothers with psychiatric conditions not taking the meds.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags