Fostering Purpose Project

The promise of purpose is clear. Committing to a personally meaningful aim because of how it allows a person to make a difference in the broader world (Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003) is associated with psychological well-being (Ryff & Singer, 2008) and flourishing (Seligman, 2011). More specifically, compared with individuals without purpose, those with a personally meaningful aspiration report higher levels of hope (Bronk, Hill, Lapsley, Talib, & Finch, 2009), happiness, (French & Joseph, 1999), and life satisfaction (Bronk, et al, 2009).

With regards to adolescents, purpose is associated with additional benefits. It has been identified as a critical developmental asset (Benson, 2006), a key component of youth thriving (Bundick, Yeagar, King, & Damon, 2010; Gillham, et al., 2011), and an important indicator of healthy identity development (Damon, 2008; Erikson, 1968; 1980). Despite the promise of purpose, the construct is rare. Only about 20 percent of high school students report having a purpose in life (Bronk, Finch, & Talib, 2009; Damon, 2008). In light of this, the Fostering Purpose Project seeks to design, test, and implement a set of tools that can quickly and easily be administered to foster purpose among youth.

The tools that were developed through this project are available at https://www.fosterpurpose.org/

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kendall Cotton Bronk
Project Lead: Brian Riches (Email)
Team Members: Valeska Dubon and Celina Benavides
Funder: John Templeton Foundation