ERIC Number: ED248450
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Meaning and Purpose in Life across the Life Span: A Cross-Sectional Multivariate Analysis.
Reker, Gary T.; And Others
This paper explores the developmental changes in meaning and purpose across the life course. Thirty males and females at the developmental stages of young adulthood (16-29 years), early middle-age (30-49 years), late middle-age (50-64 years), young-old (65-74 years) and old-old (75+ years) completed the Reker and Peacock (1981) Life Attitude Profile (LAP). Multivariate analyses of variance of the LAP scores revealed significant age differences on four of the seven dependent variables: Goal Seeking (GS), Future Meaning (FM), Death Acceptance (DA), and Life Purpose (LP). Existential Vacuum (EV), Life Control (LC), and Will to Meaning (WM) yielded no significant age differences. Trend analyses of significant subscales showed that GS and FM decreased with increasing age; whereas, DA and LP increased with increasing age. These differences reveal that older individuals are less goal oriented, have a lessened need to find meaning in the future, are more accepting of death, and have greater life purpose. These findings provide support for Erikson's view that during late adulthood, the individual gains a new perspective on life and develops a sense of integrity. The person of integrity has a sense of self-identity, accepts death as the ultimate of life, is willing to affirm his/her lifestyle, and has an appreciation of past, present, and future. These findings also contribute to an understanding of the importance of attitude changes and their influence on the aging process. (Author/BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Life Span Development; Meaningfulness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Gerontological Society (30th, Anaheim, CA, March 17-21, 1984).