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Identifying significant correlates of purpose in life in older US military veterans: results from the national health and resilience in veterans study
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 January 2023
Perceived purpose in life (PIL) has been linked to a broad range of adverse physical, mental, and cognitive outcomes. However, limited research has examined factors associated with PIL that can be targeted in prevention and treatment efforts in aging populations at heightened risk of adverse outcomes. Using data from predominantly older US veterans, we sought to identify important correlates of PIL.
Cross-sectional data were analyzed from the 2019–2020 National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of 4069 US military veterans (M age = 62.2). Elastic net and relative importance analyses were conducted to evaluate sociodemographic, military, health, and psychosocial variables that were strongly associated with PIL.
Of the 39 variables entered into an elastic net analysis, 10 were identified as significant correlates of PIL. In order of magnitude, these were resilience (18.7% relative variance explained [RVE]), optimism (12.1%), depressive symptoms (11.3%), community integration (10.7%), gratitude (10.2%), loneliness (9.8%), received social support (8.6%), conscientiousness (8.5%), openness to experience (5.4%), and intrinsic religiosity (4.7%).
Several modifiable psychosocial factors emerged as significant correlates of PIL in US military veterans. Interventions designed to target these factors may help increase PIL and mitigate risk for adverse health outcomes in this population.
- Original Research Article
- International Psychogeriatrics , First View , pp. 1 - 6
- © International Psychogeriatric Association 2023