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J Res Pers. 2016 Dec;65:38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2016.07.003. Epub 2016 Sep 4.

The Value of a Purposeful Life: Sense of Purpose Predicts Greater Income and Net Worth.

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Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA.
Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Having a sense of purpose in life appears valuable across life domains, though it remains unclear whether purpose also provides financial value to individuals. The current study examined sense of purpose as a predictor of concurrent and longitudinal income and net worth levels, using two waves of the MIDUS sample of adults (N = 4660 across both assessments). Participants who reported a higher sense of purpose had higher levels of household income and net worth initially, and were more likely to increase on these financial outcomes over the nine years between assessments. Interaction tests suggested some evidence of age moderation, but gender did not appear to moderate the influence of purpose on economic outcomes.


age moderation; income; net worth; purpose in life

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