The Purpose of Living Longer

Can having a sense of purpose in life help people live longer?

According to one definition, a sense of purpose is characterized as "having goals in life and a sense of directedness; feeling there is meaning to present and past life; holding beliefs that give life purpose; having aims and objectives for living.”    In other words, recognizing what you want out of life and having a plan to achieve it.   While this is an important part of emotional well-being at any point in our lives, a new research study published in the journal Development Psychology (link is external) demonstrates that having a purpose in life is especially important in successful aging.  

Conducted by a team of researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, the study examined older adults who were part of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (link is external) (ALSA).   Started in 1992, ALSA has followed over two thousand older Australians for decades to examine how health, emotional well-being, and living conditions have changed over time and to identify factors involved in successful aging. 

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.



Related Stories

  • Are Obese People More Aware of High-Calorie Foods?
  • Finding a Life Partner (Part Two of Two)
  • How Dangerous is Presenteeism?


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979