Comparison of Factors Related to Older Adults' Purpose of Life in Japan: Relation of the Events Leading to Life Purpose and Sense of Purpose in Life
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Session presented on Friday, July 24, 2015: Purpose: Older adults' sense of purpose in life has been an important subject in Japan along with their well-being and healthy long life. The purpose of this research is to examine the effect of events leading to life purpose and sense of purpose in life in order to examine the factors relevant to older adults' sense of purpose in life in Japan. Methods: Older adults (N = 250) aged 65 and over gathering in the Kakogawa public hall in Japan were asked to participate. They were asked about their age, family structure, maintenance of healthy condition, living arrangements, economic stability, and presence or absence of inter-generational exchange. Moreover, 19 items were examined as events leading to life purpose, based on the study by Hasegawa et al. (2001). These items were measured using the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale covering "Agitation," "Lonely dissatisfaction," and "Attitude toward own aging." Ethical considerations: The protocol of this study was approved by the Hyogo University Ethics Committee, Japan. The objectives and procedures were explained in writing to the participants. Results: Questionnaires were distributed to 250 older adults, and answers were collected from 244. After excluding missing values and outliers, data from 234 older adults (men: 49, women: 185) were used in the analysis. "Attitude toward own aging" was higher in younger than in older participants (p < .05). "Agitation" was higher in men than in women (p < .05). Number of events leading to life purpose showed positive correlation with "Agitation," "Lonely dissatisfaction," and "Attitude toward own aging" (p < .05). Specifically, events improving sense of purpose in life were "Educational and cultural enrichment activities," "Sports or recreational activities," "Volunteer activities," "Activities for an elderly's club," "Care of grandchildren and family get-together," and "Going for shopping or on a trip." Number of diseases showed negative correlation with sense of purpose in life (p < .05). Specifically, cardiopathy, fracture, liver disease, and dementia were diseases that reduced the sense of purpose in life. Conclusion: In order to improve older adults' sense of purpose in life, it is important to intervene with the course of disease and not to increase the number of diseases. Moreover, study and activity have been shown to raise older adults' sense of purpose in life. Therefore, it is necessary to include elements such as disease prevention and study and activity in an intervention program to raise older adults' sense of purpose in life.
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