Purpose in life and reduced risk of myocardial infarction among older U.S. adults with coronary heart disease: a two-year follow-up

J Behav Med. 2013 Apr;36(2):124-33. doi: 10.1007/s10865-012-9406-4. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


This study examined whether purpose in life was associated with myocardial infarction among a sample of older adults with coronary heart disease after adjusting for relevant sociodemographic, behavioral, biological, and psychological factors. Prospective data from the Health and Retirement Study-a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50-were used. Analyses were conducted on the subset of 1,546 individuals who had coronary heart disease at baseline. Greater baseline purpose in life was associated with lower odds of having a myocardial infarction during the 2-year follow-up period. On a six-point purpose in life measure, each unit increase was associated with a multivariate-adjusted odds ratio of 0.73 for myocardial infarction (95% CI, 0.57-0.93, P = .01). The association remained significant after controlling for coronary heart disease severity, self-rated health, and a comprehensive set of possible confounds. Higher purpose in life may play an important role in protecting against myocardial infarction among older American adults with coronary heart disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Coronary Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States