Religion, Meaning in Life, and Change in Physical Functioning During Late Adulthood

Journal of Adult Development (Impact Factor: 0.6). 09/2012; 19:158-169. DOI: 10.1007/s10804-012-9143-5

ABSTRACT This study has two primary goals. The first is to see whether select aspects of religion are associated with meaning in life. The second goal is to see whether change in meaning in life is associated with change in physical functioning. Data from a nationwide longitudinal survey of older people provide support for the following relationships: (1) older adults who attend church services more often tend to develop a closer relationship with God; (2) older people who have a closer relationship with God are more likely to provide emotional support to others; (3) elders who give emotional support to their social network members are more likely to have a stronger sense of meaning in life; and (4) older individuals who have a deeper sense of meaning in life are less likely to experience a decline in their physical functioning over time.

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