Purpose and Character Development in Early Adolescence
This study examines the developmental relations between purpose and three other key character strengths that emerge during early adolescence: gratitude, compassion, and grit. We analyzed survey (n = 1,005) and interview (n =98) data from a longitudinal study of character development among middle school students from the United States. Data analyses showed small but significant correlations between purpose and each of the other three character strengths under investigation. Interview data revealed patterns in ways that adolescents acted on their purposeful aspirations; and interview analyses identified qualitative differences in expressions of gratitude and compassion between adolescents who were fully purposeful and those who were not.