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Conference to explore the concept of purpose from a variety of academic viewpoints

Conference Start Date: 
March 23, 2003
Conference End Date: 
March 24, 2003

The Center brought together leading scholars from several disciplines including Applied Developmental Science, Cultural Anthropology, Education, Human Development and Social Policy, and Psychology. Each scholar contributed his or her perspective on youth purpose, such as

  • the interface of personality psychology and religion
  • using what is known about generative adults as a way to approach purpose in adolescents
  • historical social movements as sources of purpose for youth during the 1960's
  • how academic achievement motivation and psychological adjustment are related in the school context
  • resiliency, identity, and competence formation processes, particularly among youth of color and from low-resource families

A key outcome was the definition of purpose as "a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at once meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self." For further information, see: the conference summary, list of presenters and participants, consensus paper, and the meeting schedule.