Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age, according to new research. The research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development, says the lead researcher.
"Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose," says lead researcher Patrick Hill . "So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur."
The researchers looked at data from over 6000 participants, focusing on their self-reported purpose in life (e.g., "Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them") and other psychosocial variables that gauged their positive relations with others and their experience of positive and negative emotions.
Greater purpose in life consistently predicted lower mortality risk across the lifespan, showing the same benefit for younger, middle-aged, and older participants across the follow-up period
Purpose had similar benefits for adults regardless of retirement status, a known mortality risk factor. And the longevity benefits of purpose in life held even after other indicators of psychological well-being, such as positive relations and positive emotions, were taken into account.
Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512124308.htm
The associated research article can be read here: