Purpose in life is associated with physical activity measured by accelerometer

J Health Psychol. 2016 Jun;21(6):962-71. doi: 10.1177/1359105314542822. Epub 2014 Aug 7.


Previous research has shown that purpose in life, the belief that one's life is meaningful and goal-directed, is associated with greater engagement in self-reported physical activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between purpose in life and accelerometer-measured physical activity. Community volunteers (N = 104) completed measures of purpose in life and potential confounds and wore accelerometers for three consecutive days. Purpose in life was positively associated with objectively measured movement, moderate to vigorous physical activity, and with self-reported activity. These relationships were largely unchanged after controlling for potential confounds. These results suggest that purpose in life is a reliable correlate of physical activity.

Keywords: activity; exercise; health behavior; meaning; values.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult