Age, Gender, and Reasons for Living among Australian Adults

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Abstract

Reasons for living have been identified as protective factors in relation to suicide, and much research has documented gender differences in reasons for living. In contrast, little research has investigated age differences in reasons for living. In the current study, the relationship of age to reasons for living was investigated, as was whether age and gender interact to influence reasons for living. A community sample of Australian adults (N=970) aged 18 to 95 years (M=48.40, SD = 20.85) completed the Reasons for Living Inventory. Results for the main effects indicated that being female was associated with higher total, child-related concerns and fear of suicide (FS) scores, whereas increasing age was associated with higher total, responsibility to family (RF), FS, and moral objections scores. Age and gender interacted to influence RF, FS, and fear of social disapproval. For each of these reasons for living, increasing age was associated with higher scores for men; however, there was no association between age and these reasons for living scores among women. Overall, the results indicate that the influence of age, gender, or the combination of the two varies according to the reason for living being investigated.

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