Surveys were administered to adolescents (N = 144) to determine if young people varied based on the type of long-term aims they held. Using cluster analysis, four groups emerged from the data: youth without clear long-term aims, youth with self-oriented long-term aims, youth with other-oriented long-term aims, and youth with both self- and other-oriented long-term aims. The latter two clusters represent potentially purposeful youth and the self-oriented cluster represents youth with meaning in their lives. Therefore, the authors were able to compare potentially purposeful youth to youth with meaning and to youth with neither purpose nor meaning in their lives. Youth with other-oriented long-term aims were more likely to be searching for a purpose, to have identified a purpose, to report higher levels of life satisfaction, and to score higher on openness. Implications for understanding the purpose construct and for fostering purpose among adolescents are addressed.
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