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Engaging purpose in college: A person-centered approach to studying purpose in relation to college experiences

Publication Authors: 
Malin, Heather
Publication Year: 
2022 February 01 online
Publication Journal: 
Applied Developmental Science

Purpose is an indicator of healthy human development and believed by some theorists and educators to be an important outcome of college. The aim of this study was to test the potential for assessing purpose using a person-centered analysis, thereby providing more individual-specific understanding of students’ purpose development, and second by analyzing the association between students’ purpose and experiences they are having in college. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and latent class analysis (LCA) were conducted with a purpose survey that was administered to 2,261 college students. The LCA resulted in a five-class model that provided more nuanced information about students’ purpose than the CFA. Results of multinomial logistic regression of the five-class model on college experiences suggest associations between purpose and college experiences that should be investigated further. 50 copies of the article are available here at no charge.

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