|Building sense of purpose in older adulthood: Examining the role of supportive relationships.
|Year of Publication
|Weston, SJ, Lewis, NA, Hill, PL
|The Journal of Positive Psychology
|No terms assigned, older adulthood, Sense of purpose, Social Support, Well-being
Having supportive others appears valuable for developing a purpose, at least during adolescence and young adulthood. However, work has yet to consider whether sense of purpose and social support change in tandem or predict one another during older adulthood. Using a subsample (N = 7,452) of older adults from the Health and Retirement Study, we estimate the associations of purpose in life to social support and social strain in four domains (spouses/partners, children, family, friends) using bivariate growth models. Participants provided responses at three assessment occasions, 4 years apart. Analyses controlled for social contact frequency to focus on the unique role of supportive relationships. Initial levels of support correlated positively with levels for sense of purpose, while strain was negatively associated with purpose. Moreover, with the exception of family support, changes in sense of purpose were correlated with changes in support and strain in the same direction across doma