Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Stefan Schulenberg

Second Advisor

Stephanie Miller

Third Advisor

Carrie Smith

Relational Format



Having a strong sense of purpose in life leads individuals to have a better overall sense of well-being. Better physical, mental, and emotional outcomes are seen when purpose in life is acknowledged, sought after, and achieved. The Claremont Purpose Scale (CPS) was developed to measure three dimensions of purpose with adolescents. The aim of the present study was to examine the validity of the CPS for use with emerging adults, a population that has not been included in the previous study validating the CPS. It was hypothesized that (1) the CPS will have a three-factor structure, (2) all three factors (and thus all 12 items) will load onto one latent factor, (3) the items in each subscale and for the total score will demonstrate good internal consistency, (4) CPS total and subscale scores will be positively associated with another measure of general meaning in life (the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, Presence scale, or MLQ-P), and (5) CPS total and subscale scores will be negatively correlated with searching for meaning (the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, Search scale, or MLQ-S). A sample of emerging adults (N = 627 university students) was used. Overall, this emerging adult sample had a strong sense of purpose based on the overall scale score, M = 44.8, SD = 7.48. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that three dimensions of general meaning, goal-directedness, and beyond-the-self orientation were three distinct factors, and all three factors contributed significantly to the construct of purpose. The Claremont Purpose Scale total score and subscale scores had excellent internal consistency, α’s ranging from .85 to .92. A positive correlation was observed between the MLQ-P and both the total and subscale scores of the CPS, Pearson’s rs ranging from .25 to .85, all ps .05. Correlations between the MLQ-S and the CPS differed by CPS subscale, ranging from -.31 to .12. The implications of these findings are discussed, along with limitations and directions for research.



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