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Bridges and Barriers in the Development of Faith, Identity, and Life Purpose in College Seniors

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Bridges and Barriers in the Development of Faith, Identity, and Life Purpose in College Seniors Katie Byron Whitney Guthrie Cindy Miller-Perrin Don Thompson – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Bridges and Barriers in the Development of Faith, Identity, and Life Purpose in College Seniors


1
Bridges and Barriers in the Development of
Faith, Identity, and Life Purpose in College
Seniors
  • Katie Byron
  • Whitney Guthrie
  • Cindy Miller-Perrin
  • Don Thompson
  • June 13, 2006

2
Emergence of Positive Psychology
  • Traditionally, the field of psychology has
    focused on individuals maladaptive traits and
    pathologies
  • Positive Psychology explores individual health
    and well-being

3
Life Purpose
  • Life purpose is a popular area of research within
    Positive Psychology
  • Life purpose is linked to well-being
  • Life purpose is part of Pepperdine Universitys
    Mission

4
What Contributes to Life Purpose?
  • Faith
  • Religion is one context in which we encounter
    commitment to an ultimate concern or purpose
  • Identity
  • Our ongoing life narratives allow us to
    understand who we are and where we belong i.e.
    our life purpose

5
Faith and Life Purpose Bridges
  • Religious conversion
  • Life purpose evolves following conversion
    euphoria, doubt, renewed strength and stability
  • Core experiences
  • Experiences of feeling close with God, including
    the perception that God dwells within, engender a
    sense of life purpose
  • Spiritual strivings
  • Sacred goals that aim for meaningful life
    objectives, pertaining to a persons imago dei,
    contribute to life purpose
  • Mysticism
  • Strong emotional religious experience accompanies
    a strong sense of life purpose
  • God Control
  • The degree to which individuals perceive God as
    being in control of their life can impact life
    direction or purpose

6
Identity and Life Purpose Bridges
  • Developing a sense of identity out of life
    stories and experiences leads to life meaning and
    purpose
  • Identity confusion caused by lack of goals,
    based on lack of direction negatively impacts
    life purpose
  • Development of life purpose helps to resolve
    identity crises

7
Life Purpose Barriers
  • To date, no studies have addressed factors that
    inhibit ones understanding of life purpose
  • For those who experience discrimination, minority
    status is negatively related to personal growth
  • There are many other potential barriers to life
    purpose such as anxiety, financial circumstances,
    personality, etc.

8
Hypotheses Bridges Barriers to Life Purpose
  • Faith development and identity achievement
    positively predict life purpose
  • Specific barriers examined in the current study
    negatively predict life purpose
  • Personality or personal emotions
  • Views and opinions of others
  • Social pressures or personal circumstances

9
Participants
  • 89 undergraduates (mean age 21.53)
  • 60 female, 40 male
  • 67 White, 6 Asian, 6 Latino, 10
    Multiracial/Other
  • 64 Protestant, 14 Catholic, 2 Jewish, 1
    Hindu, 18 Other/None
  • All participants were seniors at Pepperdine
    University
  • Students were selected from the 2002 entering
    class to participate in a longitudinal survey on
    faith, identity, and vocation. The current study
    included 89 of these participants who responded
    to two separate surveys given during their senior
    year

10
Measures Scales
  • General Life Purpose Scale
  • Life Purpose Barriers Scale
  • Identity Scale
  • Ego-Identity Status
  • Faith Scales
  • Faith Maturity
  • Spiritual Transcendence

11
General Life Purpose Scale
  • Designed to measure overall sense of life purpose
  • Sample items
  • I have a good sense of purpose in life
  • I have no sense of direction in life
  • My life is valuable and worthwhile
  • I am making a contribution to society

12
General Life Purpose Responses
13
Life Purpose Barriers Scale
  • Measures factors that can prevent individuals
    from fulfilling their life purpose
  • Yields scores on three subscales
  • Personality or personal emotions
  • Lack of motivation, fear, being uncertain of what
    God wants
  • Views and opinions of others
  • Parents, boyfriend or girlfriend, teachers
  • Social pressures or personal circumstances
  • Financial debt, feeling limited by gender
    stereotypes

14
Life Purpose Barriers Responses
15
Life Purpose Barriers Responses
16
Ego-Identity Status Survey
  • Classifies subjects into one of four identity
    groups
  • Achievement exploration and commitment
  • It took me a while to figure it out, but now I
    really know what I want for a career.
  • Moratorium exploration without commitment
  • Religion is confusing to me right now. I keep
    changing my views on what is right and wrong for
    me.
  • Foreclosure no exploration, but commitment
  • My parents decided a long time ago what I should
    go into for employment and Im following through
    with their plans.
  • Diffusion no exploration or commitment
  • I havent really considered politics. It just
    doesnt excite me much.

17
Ego-Identity Status Responses
18
Faith Maturity Scale
  • Measures values and behavioral manifestations of
    faith
  • Sample items
  • My life is filled with meaning and purpose
  • I have a real sense that God is guiding me
  • My faith shapes how I think and act each and
    every day
  • I devote time to reading and studying the Bible

19
Faith Maturity Responses
20
Faith Maturity Responses
21
Faith Maturity Responses
22
Spiritual Transcendence Scale
  • Measures ability to step outside of oneself and
    immediate surroundings to view life on large
    scale, yielding three subscales
  • Connectedness assesses participants sense of
    community and relationships with others
  • I am concerned about those who will come after me
    in life
  • Prayer Fulfillment assesses participants prayer
    or meditation experience
  • I have experienced deep fulfillment and bliss
    through my prayers or meditations
  • Universality assesses participants sense of a
    greater meaning in life
  • I believe that death is a doorway to another
    plane of existence

23
Spiritual Transcendence Responses
24
Additional Results
  • Barrier Gender Differences
  • Faith Gender Differences
  • Predictors of Life Purpose

25
Gender Differences Emotional Barriers
  • Females perceive emotional barriers to life
    purpose at higher levels than males

26
Gender Differences Social Pressure Barriers
  • Females perceive social barriers to life purpose
    at higher levels than males

27
Gender Differences Faith Variables
  • Females scored significantly higher on Faith
    Maturity Spiritual Transcendence

28
Best Predictors of Life Purpose
Faith Maturity
Achieved Identity Status
Emotional Barriers
Life Purpose
29
Lessons for Pepperdine University
  • Engender Faith Growth Mentoring, Spiritual
    Nourishment, Challenges to Faith
  • Promote Self-Discovery leading to Achieved
    Identity Reflective Experiences International
    Programs, Retreats, Club Convo
  • Understand dynamics of gender, especially
    considering our 60/40 balance

30
Dr. Cindy Miller-Perrin
31
Whitney Guthrie
32
Katie Byron
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