|Title||Maintaining Sense of Purpose Following Health Adversity in Older Adulthood: A Propensity Score Matching Examination.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Hill, PL, Beck, ED, Jackson, JJ|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology: Series B|
|Keywords||health events, older adulthood, propensity score matching, Sense of purpose|
OBJECTIVES: Research has demonstrated sense of purpose predicts better health in older adulthood. However, work is limited with respect to understanding how experiencing a health event or illness diagnosis impacts older adults' sense of purpose.
METHOD: The current study employed a propensity score matching approach to compare older adults who did or did not experience an adverse health event on changes in sense of purpose across three waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Sense of purpose was assessed at each wave, and changes were compared between people who did versus did not experience one of seven diagnoses and health events.
RESULTS: When propensity score matching was employed, no differences in trajectories of change for sense of purpose were found with respect to all seven events. Individual differences in trajectories though were evidenced across groups.
DISCUSSION: The current findings suggest that even when health events impact older adults' physical functioning or place limitations on their activity, it may hold little ramifications for their sense of purpose. Future research should consider this potential for resilience, focusing on how adults compensate for losses.