Description: OK, think back to your own early adolescence (when you were 13 to 15 years old). Thinking about what the world and your place in it looked like back then would you say you had a clear sense of what your purpose in life was (is)? Probably not. What about now? Is the purpose of life, of your life, any clearer now? Think for a little bit about what a sense of purpose in life (that is yours and not one that has been handed to you by others or my life circumstances) might mean for how things go (or will go) for you in your post-secondary developmental adventures (in college or university or in the world in general). After you have those thoughts in order, use this link (https://www.mediafire.com/file/admyn4hzbe39g2p/Purpose%20Scales.pdf ) to download a document containing two measures that assess parts of concept of life purpose (of YOUR life propose). Answer the questions and calculate your scores using the instructions in the document and compare your scores to the scores of a large sample of firth year university students using the average scores contained in the download document. Once you have done that go and have a look through the article linked below. It is a full research article but you do not have to read it in deep detail to find some useful things to think about. Skim through the introduction to see what the study involved. In the methods section have a look at what the researchers measured and how they described what they thought they were measuring (e.g., their operationalizations of the variable of interest). Then, skim the results section and have a closer look at the discussion section to see what they found in the study. What does a sense of life purpose relate to among the university students who participated in the research. Think about whether the finding make sense to you and thinks about what else you might like to know about the variables measured and the concepts studies in this research project.
Source: Purpose in Life in Emerging Adulthood: Development and Validation of a New Brief Measure, see reference below.
Photo Credit: tinybudda.com
Links: Article Link — hhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779362/
So what did you come to by way of conclusions? What purpose in life well defined? Does it seem to be important (matter in real life)? Did the your results on the two measure you completed (if you did that) make sense? The research article suggested that your scores on the two measures should be quite similar and they reported a correlation of .6 between scores on the two measures in their data. So what next? If the results and the researchers discussion of their results did not make sense to you what research do you think is needed to make things clearer. If the results DID make sense (e.g., that wellbeing is positively correlated with life purpose in this population) what sorts of things might we try and do to help folks develop a clearer sense of life purpose and how would we measure whether or not doing so works and whether doing so makes a difference.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is Life Purpose (both in general terms AND in terms of how it was measured in this study?
- Is there a gap, in your mind, between what Life Purpose is and what was measured in this study and if so how might we narrow that gap?
- How might you design a study to assess the effectiveness of two of three ways in which, hypothetically, we might strengthen people’s Life Purpose?
References (Read Further):
Hill, P. L., Edmonds, G. W., Peterson, M., Luyckx, K., & Andrews, J. A. (2016). Purpose in life in emerging adulthood: Development and validation of a new brief measure. The journal of positive psychology, 11(3), 237-245. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779362/