Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Older adults' spirituality and life satisfaction: a longitudinal test of social support and sense of coherence as mediating mechanisms

  • SEAN COWLISHAW (a1), SYLVIA NIELE (a1), KAREN TESHUVA (a2), COLETTE BROWNING (a1) and HAL KENDIG (a3)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Spirituality is proposed to be a component of successful ageing and has been shown to predict wellbeing in old age. There has been conceptual discussion of possible mechanisms that link spirituality with positive psychological functioning in older adults, but few empirical examinations of these linking mechanisms over time. The current study examined the role of Antonovsky's Sense of Coherence (SOC) and social support in mediating the effects of spirituality on life satisfaction in older participants over a four-year period. The study used a cross-lagged panel analysis to evaluate longitudinal mediation within a path analysis framework. Results showed that the meaningfulness dimension of SOC mediated the influence of spirituality on life satisfaction over time, suggesting that spirituality may influence older adults' experience and perception of life events, leading to a more positive appraisal of these events as meaningful. Social support was not found to mediate the pathway between spirituality and life satisfaction. This study may be the first to examine the link between spirituality, sense of coherence, social support and wellbeing, as measured by life satisfaction, using longitudinal data from a community sample of older adults. The study provides evidence for the positive role of spirituality in the lives of older people. This is an area that requires further examination in models of successful ageing.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Sean Cowlishaw, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Notting Hill, 3168, Victoria, Australia. E-mail: sean.cowlishaw@monash.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Antonovsky 1993. The structure and properties of the Sense of Coherence scale. Social Science & Medicine, 36, 6, 725–33.

J. P. Bjorck and J. W. Thurman 2007. Negative life events, patterns of positive and negative religious coping, and psychological functioning. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46, 2, 159–67.

A. Bowling and P. Dieppe 2005. What is successful ageing and who should define it? British Medical Journal, 331, 7531, 1548–51.

S. R. Briggs and J. M. Cheek 1986. The role of factor analysis in the development and evaluation of personality scales. Journal of Personality, 54, 1, 106–48.

C. Browning and H. Kendig 2010. The Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing program (MELSHA). International Journal of Epidemiology, 39, 5, e17.

W. Cadge , J. Freese and A. Christakis 2008. The provision of hospital chaplaincy in the United States: A national overview. Southern Medical Journal, 101, 6, 626–30.

M. D. Chatfield , C. E. Brayne and F. E. Matthews 2005. A systematic literature review of attrition between waves in longitudinal studies in the elderly shows a consistent pattern of dropout between differing studies. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58, 1, 1319.

D. A. Cole and S. E. Maxwell 2003. Testing meditational models with longitudinal data: Questions and tips in the use of structural equation modeling. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 4, 558–77.

M. Crowther , M. Parker , W. Larimore , A. Achenbaum and H. Koenig 2002. Rowe and Kahn's model of successful aging revisited: spirituality the missing construct. The Gerontologist, 42, 5, 613–20.

R. D'Souza 2003. Incorporating a spiritual history into a psychiatric assessment. Australasian Psychiatry, 11, 1, 1215.

R. D'Souza and A. Rodrigo 2004. Spiritually augmented cognitive behavioural therapy. Australasian Psychiatry, 12, 2, 148–52.

C. A. Depp , S. J. Glatt and D. V. Jeste 2007. Recent advances in research on successful or healthy aging. Current Psychiatry Reports, 9, 1, 713.

C. A. Depp and D. V. Jeste 2006. Definitions and predictors of successful aging: a comprehensive review of larger quantitative studies. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14, 1, 620.

C. Depp , I. V. Vahia and D. Jeste 2010. Successful aging: focus on cognitive and emotional health. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 527–50.

E. Diener 2009. Subjective well-being. In E. Diener (ed.), The Science of Well-being: The Collected Works of Ed Diener. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.

A. L. Duckworth , T. A. Steen and M. E. P. Seligman 2005. Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 629–51.

C. G. Ellison and L. K. George 1994. Religious involvement, social ties, and social support in a southeastern community. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 33, 1, 4661.

C. G. Ellison and J. S. Levin 1998. The religion-health connection: evidence, theory, and future directions. Health Education and Behavior, 25, 6, 700–20.

R. A. Emmons and R. F. Paloutzian 2003. The psychology of religion. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 377402.

C. Enders 2001. A primer on maximum likelihood algorithms available for use with missing data. Structural Equation Modeling, 8, 1, 128–41.

T. Feldt and A. Rasku 1998. The structure of Antonovsky's Orientation to Life Questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 25, 3, 505–16.

P. A. Frazier , A. P. Tix and K. E. Baron 2004. Testing moderator and mediator effects in counseling psychology research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51, 1, 115–34.

J. F. Fries 2002. Successful aging – an emerging paradigm of gerontology. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 18, 3, 371–82.

L. K. George , D. B. Larson , H. G. Koenig and M. E. McCullough 2000. Spirituality and health: what we know, what we need to know. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19, 1, 102–16.

P. C. Hill and K. I. Pargament 2003. Advances in the conceptualization and measurement of religion and spirituality: implications for physical and mental health research. American Psychologist, 58, 1, 664–74.

P. C. Hill , K. I. Pargament , R. W. Hood , M. E. McCullough , J. P. Swyers , D. B. Larson and B. J. Zinnbauer 2000. Conceptualizing religion and spirituality: points of commonality, points of departure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 30, 1, 5277.

L. T. Hu and P. M. Bentler 1999. Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1, 155.

E. L. Idler 1987. Religious involvement and the health of the elderly: some hypotheses and an initial test. Social Forces, 66, 1, 226–38.

A. James and A. Wells 2003. Religion and mental health: towards a cognitive-behavioural framework. British Journal of Health Psychology, 8, 3, 359–76.

H. G. Koenig 2004. Religion, spirituality, and medicine: research findings and implications for clinical practice. The Southern Medical Journal, 97, 12, 1194–200.

U. Kunzmann , T. D. Little and J. Smith 2000. Is age-related stability of subjective well-being a paradox? Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from the Berlin Aging Study. Psychology and Aging, 15, 3, 511–26.

K. A. Lawler-Row and J. Elliott 2009. The role of religious activity and spirituality in the health and well-being of older adults. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 1, 4352.

D. McLaughlin , D. Vagenas , N. A. Pachana , N. Begum and A. Dobson 2010. Gender differences in social network size and satisfaction in adults in their 70 s. Journal of Health Psychology, 15, 5, 671–9.

T. E. Murphy , L. Han , H. G. Allore , P. N. Peduzzi , T. M. Gill and H. Lin 2011. Treatment of death in the analysis of longitudinal studies of gerontological outcomes. Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 66A, 1, 109–14.

J. Nooney and E. Woodrum 2002. Religious coping and church-based social supports as predictors of mental health outcomes: testing a conceptual model. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41, 2, 359–68.

M. J. Orton 2008. Transforming chaplaincy: the emergence of a healthcare pastoral care for a post-modern world. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 15, 2, 114–31.

K. I. Pargament , B. W. Smith , H. G. Koenig and L. Perez 1998. Patterns of positive and negative religious coping with major life stressors. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 4, 710–24.

C. L. Park 2007. Religiousness/spirituality and health: a meaning systems perspective. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 4, 319–28.

N. Park , C. Peterson and M. Seligman 2004. Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 5, 603–19.

M. Pinquart and S. Sorensen 2000. Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: a meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 15, 2, 187224.

P. G. Reed 1987. Spirituality and well-being in terminally ill hospitalized adults. Research in Nursing and Health, 10, 5, 335–44.

J. W. Rowe and R. L. Kahn 1987. Human aging: usual and successful. Science, 237, 4811, 143–9.

C. Ryff 1989. Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 6, 1069–81.

M. E. P. Seligman and M. Csikszentmihalyi 2000. Positive psychology: an introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 1, 514.

G. A. Silvestri , S. Knittig , J. S. Zoller and P. J. Nietert 2003. Importance of faith on medical decisions regarding cancer care. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21, 7, 1379–82.

W. J. Strawbridge , M. I. Wallhagen and R. D. Cohen 2002. Successful aging and wellbeing: self-rated compared with Rowe and Kahn. The Gerontologist, 42, 6, 727–33.

P. G. Surtees , N. W. Wainwright and K. Khaw 2006. Resilience, misfortune, and mortality: evidence that sense of coherence is a marker of social stress adaptive capacity. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 61, 2, 221–7.

P. Wink and M. Dillon 2002. Spiritual development across the adult life course: findings from a longitudinal study. Journal of Adult Development, 9, 1, 7994.

T. E. Woods and G. H. Ironson 1999. Religion and spirituality in the face of illness: how cancer, cardiac, and HIV patients describe their spirituality/religiosity. Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 3, 393412.

Y. Young , K. D. Frick and E. A. Phelan 2009. Can successful aging and chronic illness coexist in the same individual? A multidimensional definition of successful aging. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 10, 2, 8792.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 63 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 291 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.