1.  One of our current projects evaluates the ways in which cognitive decline diagnoses affect the sense of purpose of the individuals who receive them and the caretakers who look after them. Sense of purpose is a lifespan development construct that can ebb and flow depending on one’s stage of life. In older adulthood specifically, sense of purpose tends to decrease as older adults encounter large, life-changing experiences such as retirement, loss of loved ones, and cognitive decline. Through a longitudinal design involving both the patients and their caretakers, we are evaluating the ways in which an impactful event such as a cognitive decline diagnosis can alter one’s sense of purpose and how their purpose narrative may change.
  2. Our work has been one of the first of its kind to evaluate sense of purpose in the context of relationship outcomes. To this point, sense of purpose has been found to positively impact social outcomes such as sense of belongingness and connected as well as lower levels of loneliness. Transitioning into a romantic relationship context, we have found that purposeful people report higher levels of both relationship satisfaction and commitment to their partners. Moving forward, we are investigating the ways in which purpose functions in a relationship: how does purpose similarity impact relationship outcomes over time? What are the roles of individuals’ purpose orientations (e.g. life goals), and how important is it for one’s partner to understand and/or support these goals?
  3. Our research has shown that more purposeful people feel more comfortable and less stressed in the midst of diversity. Recent work is considering whether purposeful individuals may seek out and navigate experiences of diversity differently from other, and what underlying mechanisms of sense of purpose promotes these desirable outcomes with diversity. Specifically, we are investigating how individuals’ purpose in life is shaped differentially depending on their experiences with marginalization and how sense of purpose connects to pro-feminist attitudes.

Recent Publications

  • Hill, P. L., Sin, N. L., Turiano, N. A., Burrow, A. L., & Almeida, D. M. (2018). Sense of purpose buffers against daily reactivity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52, 724-729.
  • Sumner, R., Burrow, A. L., & Hill, P. L. (2018). The development of purpose in life among adolescents who experience marginalization: Potential opportunities and obstacles. American Psychologist, 73(6), 740-752.
  • Pfund, G. N. & Hill, P. L. (2018) The multifaceted benefits of purpose in life. The International Forum for Logotherapy, 41, 27-37.
  • Hill, P. L., & Payne, B. R. (2017). Don’t forget the person when promoting healthy cognitive aging: A comment on Smith (2016). American Psychologist, 72, 390-392.
  • Hill, P. L., Turiano, N. A., Mroczek, D. K., & Burrow, A. L. (2016). The value of a purposeful life: Sense of purpose predicts greater income and net worth. Journal of Research in Personality, 65, 38-42.
  • Hill, P. L., & Jackson, J. J. (2016). The invest-and-accrue model of conscientiousness. Review of General Psychology, 20, 141-154.