A 'purpose in life' lowers risk of stroke for older adults

March 7, 2013, University of Michigan
A 'purpose in life' lowers risk of stroke for older adults

(Medical Xpress)—Among older American adults, a greater purpose in life is linked with a lower risk of stroke, a new University of Michigan study found.

Diseases like stroke can cause severe social, financial and personal burden. Therefore, recent studies have sought to uncover links between and stroke in order to identify innovative prevention and treatment efforts.

U-M researchers used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a national survey of American adults over the age of 50. Nearly 6,800 adults who were stroke-free prior to the study were examined.

To assess the odds of over a four-year period, the researchers used psychological and other data collected in 2006, along with occurrences of stroke reported in 2006-10 and during exit interviews.

Some factors analyzed included gender, race/ethnicity, education level, (smoking, exercise, alcohol use), (hypertension, diabetes, blood pressure, BMI), negative psychological factors (depression, anxiety, hostility) and positive psychological factors (optimism positive emotions, ).

Participants rated their responses to a half-dozen questions, including: "I enjoy making plans for the future and working to make them a reality," "My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me," and "I live life one day at a time and don't really think about the future."

"Even after adjusting for several risk factors that have been linked with stroke, the effects of purpose remained significant in all models, implying that purpose displays a protective effect against stroke above and beyond the effects of the factors we tested," said Eric Kim, the study's lead author and a U-M doctoral student in .

The study's other authors include U-M graduate student Jennifer Sun and Nansook Park, U-M professor of psychology.

The findings appear in the current online issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

Explore further: Optimism associated with lower risk of having stroke

Related Stories

Optimism associated with lower risk of having stroke

July 21, 2011
A positive outlook on life might lower your risk of having a stroke, according to new research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Top risk of stroke for normal-weight adults: Getting under 6 hours of sleep

June 11, 2012
Habitually sleeping less than six hours a night significantly increases the risk of stroke symptoms among middle-age to older adults who are of normal weight and at low risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to ...

Chronic stress linked to high risk of stroke

August 29, 2012
[Is psycho-physical stress a risk factor for stroke? A case-control study Online First doi 10.1136/jnnp-2012-302420]

Increased prevalence of stroke hospitalizations seen in teens and young adults

September 1, 2011
Ischemic stroke hospitalization rates in adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 44 increased up to 37% between 1995 and 2008 according to a study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ...

Black stroke survivors face greater risk from high blood pressure

August 16, 2012
Black people who survived strokes caused by bleeding in the brain were more likely than whites to have high blood pressure a year later – increasing their risk of another stroke, according to a study in the American ...

Recommended for you

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.