People who have a strong purpose in life tend to have a heightened interest in preventive healthcare and better health generally, a study suggests.
A goal-driven life is associated with better health but few researchers have explored the relationship between life purpose and patterns of healthcare use.
Eric S. Kim at the University of Michigan and colleagues studied 7,168 American adults over the age of 50.
The authors found that each unit increase in purpose on a six-point scale reflected a progressively higher likelihood that they would obtain a cholesterol test or colonoscopy during the 6-year study.
Women with high scores were more likely than others to receive a mammogram/X-ray or Pap smear. Men with high scores were more likely than others to receive a prostate exam.
The study revealed that each unit increase in purpose was associated with 17% fewer nights spent in the hospital.
The study is published in the journal PNAS.
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