Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock cited in story on how low marriage rates may exacerbate marriage-status economic inequality

Shapiro says Americans' seemingly volatile spending pattern linked to 'sensible cash management'

Work of Cigolle, Ofstedal et al. cited in Forbes story on frailty risk among the elderly

Highlights

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

James Jackson to be appointed to NSF's National Science Board

ISR's program in Society, Population, and Environment (SPE) focuses on social change and social issues worldwide.

McEniry and Schoeni host Conference on Long-run Impacts of Early Life Events

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

Neal Krause photo

Meaning in Life and Mortality

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal. 2009. "Meaning in Life and Mortality." Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64(4): 517-527.

The purpose of this exploratory study was to see if meaning in life is associated with mortality in old age.

Interviews were conducted with a nationwide sample of older adults (N = 1,361). Data were collected on meaning in life, mortality, and select control measures.

Three main findings emerged from this study. First, the data suggest that older people with a strong sense of meaning in life are less likely to die over the study follow-up period than those who do not have a strong sense of meaning. Second, the findings indicate that the effect of meaning on mortality can be attributed to the potentially important indirect effect that operates through health. Third, further analysis revealed that one dimension of meaning-having a strong sense of purpose in life-has a stronger relationship with mortality than other facets of meaning. The main study findings were observed after the effects of attendance at religious services and emotional support were controlled statistically.

If the results from this study can be replicated, then interventions should be designed to help older people find a greater sense of purpose in life.

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbp047 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2905132. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next