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Purpose Moderates the Relationship Between Stress and Life Satisfaction Among College Students

Publication Authors: 
Emily Morton
Publication Year: 

This study examines the moderating effect of purpose on the well-established negative relationship between stress and perceived life satisfaction among college students. Students (N = 2,305) at nine different colleges and universities in the United States completed online surveys about their undergraduate experiences. Results of a multiple linear regression indicated a main effect of stress on life satisfaction, and a positive interaction effect of stress and purpose on life satisfaction when controlling for demographic characteristics. These findings suggest that the negative relationship between stress and life satisfaction is attenuated for students who report greater purpose. Overall, this study demonstrates the need for causal research considering the role of purpose in the relationship between stress and life satisfaction and provides a potential rationale for an increased focus on developing students’ purpose at undergraduate institutions to promote students’ well-being..