Does Your Life Have Purpose? The Answer Could Affect How Long You Live.

你的生活有目標嗎? 答案可能會影響你的壽命。


Having a strong purpose in life may have not only mental benefits, but also physical ones.



A new study suggests that purposeful living is linked to decreased risk of early death in those older than age 50. The new results were published Thursday (May 23) in the journal?JAMA Network Open.

一項新的研究表明,有人生目標的生活可以降低50歲以上人群的早逝風險。 新的研究結果發表在周四(5月23日)的JAMA Network Open雜志上。


A group of researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed data from nearly 7,000 people older than 50 who were enrolled in a national study that began in 1992 and who filled out a psychological questionnaire in 2006.


Participants were asked to rank?how strongly they felt?about statements such as "I enjoy making plans for the future and working to make them a reality" and "my daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me"; the people were then given a "life purpose score."



The researchers then compared these scores with mortality rates of the participants over the next five years. During that time, 776 of the participants died.

接著,研究人員將這些分數與未來五年參與者的死亡率進行比較。 在此期間,776名實驗者死亡。

Participants with the lowest life-purpose scores were more than twice as likely to die during the follow-up period, compared with participants with the highest life-purpose scores, the study found. In particular, those with lower life-purpose scores were more likely to die from heart or blood conditions.

研究發現,在隨訪期間,生活目標分數最低的實驗者死亡的概率是生活目標分數最高的參與者的兩倍多。 尤其是那些生活目標得分較低的人更有可能死于心臟或血液疾病。


The findings held even after the researchers took into account?certain factors that could affect people's sense of life purpose or their risk of death, such as whether the participants had depression.



"There seems to be no downside to improving one's life purpose, and there may be benefits," said lead author Aliya Alimujiang, a doctoral student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. "Previous research has suggested that volunteering and?meditation may improve psychological well-being."

密歇根大學公共衛生學院的博士生Aliya Alimujiang說:“改善一個人的生活目標似乎沒有任何不利因素,只會有好處。” “之前的研究表明,志愿服務和冥想都可以改善心理健康。”


The next step for this research will be to determine if interventions designed to increase life purpose really work, and if increasing life purpose leads to good health outcomes such as improved quality of life, she added.



According to the researchers, there are several possible reasons why having a life purpose?might extend life span.


Past studies have shown that stronger well-being, including purposeful living, decreased the activation of genes that trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation, in turn, has been previously linked with an increase in risk of early death, according to the study.

Yet another study found that a stronger purpose in life was linked to lower levels of the "stress hormone" cortisol and lower levels of inflammatory molecules in the body. But no studies have directly measured such molecules or biomarkers and related them to health outcomes or mortality.

然而,另一項研究發現,生活中強烈的目標與較低水平的"應激激素"皮質醇和較低水平的炎癥分子有關。 但是沒有研究直接測量這些分子或生物標志物,并將它們與健康結果或死亡率聯系起來。

One limitation of the study is that the researchers couldn't exclude the possibility of "reverse causality" among participants with a chronic or life-threatening illness.


In other words, the chronic or life-threatening illness could have been driving people to have a lower purpose in life.


In a follow-up analysis, when the researchers excluded people who had a?chronic or life-threatening illness, their results still held true, but there was a higher likelihood that these results could have been due to chance, the authors noted.