The role of meaning in life as a protective factor in suicidal ideation among elderly men with physical illnesses

Mira Lutzman, Eliane Sommerfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The highest suicide rates are among elderly men. The aim of the present study is to extend previous findings by focusing on meaning in life as a protective factor for suicidal ideation among elderly men. Self-report measures were administered to 170 elderly men aged 65 and over in community. Meaning in life and physical illness predicted suicidal ideation among elderly men. Physical illness moderated the association between meaning in life and suicidal ideation. In the young-old group (ages 65–74), meaning in life predicted suicidal ideation among those who reported higher rates of physical illness. This moderation effect was not found among the older group (aged 75 years and older). The findings of this study highlight the importance of age-differences in studying suicidal ideation among elderly men. Our findings emphasize the importance of cultivating and maintaining meaning in life when coping with chronic illnesses and point at meaning in life as a goal in therapeutic interventions designed to reduce suicidal ideation among elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10603-10612
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Psychology
Volume42
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Elderly men
  • Meaning in life
  • Physical illness
  • Suicidal ideation

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