The sense that life has meaning and direction is associated with reduced risks of adverse health. This study tested the hypothesis that greater purpose in life is associated with lower risk of cerebral infarcts, a type of stroke caused by blockage in a blood vessel to the brain. Results showed that greater purpose in life was associated with lower odds of having more macroscopic infarcts (brain injury visible to the naked eye on autopsy). Results did not find association with microinfarcts (brain injury visible only with a microscope).
Citation: Yu, L., Boyle, P. A., Wilson, R. S., Levine, S. R., Schneider, J. A., & Bennett, D. A. (2015). Purpose in Life and Cerebral Infarcts in Community-Dwelling Older People. Stroke, 46(4), 1071-1076.