Categories of Purpose in Life among Adolescents

Kendall Cotton Bronk

Purpose is a part of one’s personal search for meaning, but it also has an external component, specifically the intention to contribute to matters larger than the self, which represents the unique contribution purpose makes to the field of positive youth development. This study examined this component a part from the broader construct, and sought to understand if and how young people differed based on the types of long-term aims (other-focused versus self-focused) they identified as inspiring. Four clusters emerged from the data, two of which featured at least some beyond the self motivations. These clusters were more likely to have identified a purpose, be searching for a purpose, report high life satisfaction scores, and demonstrate extraversion and openness.

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