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Factors Influencing the Development of “Purpose in Life”and Its Relationship to Coping with Mental Stress

Author(s): Riichiro Ishida | Masahiko Okada

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 02;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Purpose In Life | Approval Motivation | Stress | Confusion | Sympathetic Nervous Activity

Factors influencing the development of purpose in life (PIL) were examined. Methods: We recruited 67 healthy students of Niigata University (34 males and 33 females, 18-35 years of age). PIL and approval motivation (AM), and memories of experiences (IME) were measured using the PIL test, Martin-Larsen Approval Motivation Scale (MLAM), and the Early Life and Youth Experiences Inventory. Confusion, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and thumb-tip temperature were measured before and during “Evaluating-Integrating Words Task (EIWT).” Results: In the Profile of Mood States (POMS) tests, changes in the confusion scores were significantly higher in the weak PIL compared to the firm PIL group. The scores were significantly higher for the firm AM compared to the weak AM group. Changes in heart rate were significantly higher in the weak PIL compared to the firm PIL group. IME scores for memories of the beauty of nature, empathetic listening from parents and teachers were positively or negatively correlated with PIL test scores or MLAM scores for life stages: infancy, junior high school, and university. Conclusion: PIL and AM seemed to grow through the experiences of the beauty of nature and empathic understanding by parents and teachers during various developmental stages. Purpose in life had greater influence on emotional response and the autonomic nervous system response during psychological stress compared to approval motivation

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