Sense of Purpose Increases Youth Wellbeing

Sense of Purpose Increases Youth Wellbeing

Fostering a sense of purpose can improve mental wellbeing among youth and young adults, according to a new review of scientific research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2023). 

A systematic review of research was conducted to investigate the effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of sense of purpose (SOP) interventions in preventing or reducing anxiety or depression in youth aged 14–24 years. 

The search identified 25 studies reporting on 4408 participants from six countries (64.0 % of studies in the US). 

Multi-component interventions targeting several SOP components (i.e., value clarification, goal setting, gratitude enhancement) reported, on average, moderate reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms in youth. 

Youth advisors and experts reported that group interventions were most acceptable to young people. 

According to this review of research, evidence-based substance use prevention programs like SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness that include multiple health behavior goal setting and both screening and feedback to clarify what desired images and goals young people would like to achieve in the future are therefore likely to not only prevent substance use but also mental health problems like depression and anxiety by increasing the sense of purpose of youth and young adults.   

Read the research abstract: 

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