Center Overview

The Stanford Center on Adolescence is a scholarly research center that aims to promote the well-being of young people growing up in today's world. The Center pursues its mission through scholarly research that can provide information and guidance for parenting, educational practice, and vocational training. In addition, the Center offers support for doctoral students and visiting opportunities for post-doctoral fellows on a short-term basis.

The Center’s primary focus is the development of purpose during adolescence and beyond. Purpose is a forward-looking intention to accomplish goals that are meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self. A growing body of evidence indicates that purpose is associated with academic achievement, vocational success, energy, resilience, and psychological and physical health throughout the lifespan. Purpose can be found in family, work, faith, and other important life missions. More »

In the Spotlight

• This Stanford Retiree Insider article about our Pathways to Encore Purpose project is a follow up piece to their Winter 2016 article introducing the study.

• "Design Your Way to a Happier Life," a recent article in the WSJ by teachers in Stanford's Mechanical Engineering Design Program, cites research conducted by the Center on Adolescence.

• This article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review highlights a promising educational application of our Center’s research on the development of purpose.

• Listen as Tom Wagner, William Damon, and Jill Berkowicz talk about "Helping Students Find Purpose Through Passion and Play," an interview on BAM Radio's Studentcentricity, with Rae Pica.

• The Learning4Purpose project, a multinational research collaboration of nine universities in six countries, in which several Center alums and visiting scholars are involved, announces their website.

• William Damon's recent article, “Ben Franklin’s Guide To Making Friends," in Hoover Institution's online journal, Defining Ideas, expands on our collaboration with 92 Street Y and Citizen University to launch a modern version of Ben Franklin’s Mutual Improvement Clubs.

• Center graduate student, Katie Remington, is one of the "Student Voices" selected to represent the Stanford Graduate School of Education to current and prospective students.

• Here's an article in GSE News about our current study, "Pathways to Encore Purpose," which aims to help older Americans lead more purposeful lives.

The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice, by Damon & Colby, was favorably reviewed in the fall 2015 issue of Media Ethics magazine. The book was also discussed in a controversial essay in the New York Review of Books. We invite you to read the essay and Colby and Damon’s response.

Character in Adolescence: A Conversation with Angela Duckworth and Bill Damon. A Conversation with Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania, and Bill Damon, Center Director, was presented Thursday, February 27, 2014

• You can view the video and full transcript for the webinar: Educating for Youth Purpose Around the World, held 10/29/14. Clic