Purpose in Life and Conditions of the Heart

Continuing with an exploration of the research literature on ‘Purpose in Life’, I conducted a search in Medline using the search term “Purpose in Life” looking for papers on cardiac conditions. At the time of writing the search retrieved 324 results and of these 7 related to cardiac conditions. On closer examination, 4 of these were relevant to the search question. There was no overarching theme from these 4 studies other than to say there were generally positive associations with a stronger sense of purpose in life. These results were however consistent with a number of other research studies on purpose in life particularly in terms of survival and perception of health (see Appendix).

In this 6 year follow-up study, 95 people who had undergone heart transplants were assessed for ‘quality of life, psychological distress and psychological well-being’. There were a number of factors having significant associations with survival amongst which was the strength of purpose in life.  In another study, 130 people attending a cardiac clinic in the USA (average age 60) were found to exhibit a significant relationship between purposiveness and positive perceived health and that this relationship was mediated through physical exercise. In a large 15-year prospective cohort study, researchers followed up 2959 people in Japan where subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire on purpose in life. They found that having a strong sense of purpose in life was associated with a reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The adjusted hazard ratio was 0.56 for people with a strong sense of purpose in life compared to those with a low sense of purpose in life (the 95% confidence interval was 0.1-0.84). In a study of 308 people with congenital heart malformations there was found to be no significant difference on six measures of psychological well-being between people with simple and complex malformations. However there was a significant and positive correlation between strength of purpose in life and both level of education and employment status.

Appendix – Blog Articles on Purpose in Life

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 1

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 2. Scales

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 3. Depression

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 4. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 5. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature – Part 6. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan: Older Adulthood

Purpose in Life. An Overview of the Literature Part 7. Purpose in Life Across the Lifespan

Having a Purpose in Life and the Risk of Cognitive Decline

Having a Purpose in Life Reduces the Risk of Death

Purpose in Life and Rheumatoid Arthritis

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

One thought on “Purpose in Life and Conditions of the Heart

  1. Pingback: Purpose in Life and Caregiving « The Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog

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