Spirituality promotes better health outcomes and lowers anxiety about aging: The importance of spiritual dimensions for baby boomers as they enter older adulthood

Elizabeth MacKinlay, Richard Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Baby boomers present unique challenges to aged care service provision. Like previous generations, baby boomers will face challenges of ageing. Spirituality in later life, understood largely as meaning in life, is crucial to well-being. Little has been studied about this dimension of ageing for baby boomers. This mixed methods study used survey and focus groups methods to investigate spirituality in a sample of baby boomers (N = 143). Participants comprised staff, children of adults in care, and Uniting Church congregational members. We examined associations between physical and mental health, and ageing anxiety with spirituality and whether baby boomer spirituality buffered the impact of negative life events. Focus groups revealed fears of future frailty, loss, and fears of dementia. Religious affiliation in study was lower, yet spirituality was important, even with those without religious affiliation. Closeness of association of staff with older people in their care seemed to account for lower levels of fear of older people amongst staff, but higher fears of future loss compared with the other groups. Higher levels of spirituality were related to better mental and physical health and lower anxiety about and fear of ageing, and buffered the impact of negative life events where they occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-265
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging
Volume29
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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