|Can adherence to moral standards and ethical behaviors help maintain a sense of purpose in life? Evidence from a longitudinal study of middle-aged and older adults.
|Year of Publication
|Weziak-Bialowolska, D, Bialowolski, P
|Health Status, Morals, Retirement
Personal factors, such as character strengths, have been shown to be favorably associated with concurrent and future well-being. Positive associations have also been reported between purpose in life and concurrent and subsequent health and well-being. Evidence on antecedents of purpose in life is, however, limited. This study examines whether the adherence to moral standards and ethical behaviors (AMSEB) is associated with subsequent purpose in life. Data from the Health and Retirement Study obtained from a sample of 8,788 middle-aged and older adults in the US (mean age = 64.9 years, age range 50-96 years) were used. The prospective associations between AMSEB and purpose in life were examined using generalized linear models. A rich set of covariates and prior outcomes were used as controls to reduce the risk of reverse causation. The robustness analyses included computation of sensitivity measures, E-values, and running a set of secondary analyses conducted on subsamples of respondents and using a limited set of covariates. It was found that middle-aged and older adults who demonstrated higher AMSEB reported a higher sense of purpose in life after the 4-year follow-up period. This association was found to be monotonic, moderately robust to potential unmeasured confounding and independent of demographics, prior socioeconomic status, prior health conditions, and health behaviors as well as prior psychological predispositions such as dispositional optimism and life satisfaction. It was also robust to missing data patterns. Policymakers and health practitioners may consider a predisposition to adherence to moral standards and ethical behaviors as a potential intervention target, as its improvement and/or maintenance has the potential to improve longevity and to help promote healthy and purposeful aging.
|PubMed Central ID