Factors Influencing the Development of “Purpose in Life”and Its Relationship to Coping with Mental Stress
Riichiro Ishida, Masahiko Okada
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2011.21005   PDF    HTML     6,879 Downloads   12,685 Views   Citations


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

Share and Cite:

Ishida, R. & Okada, M. (2011). Factors Influencing the Development of “Purpose in Life”and Its Relationship to Coping with Mental Stress. Psychology, 2, 29-34. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.21005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] 1. Al-Ani, M., Munir, S. M., White, M., Townend, J., & Coote, J. H. (1996). Changes in R-R variability before and after endurance training measured by power spectral analysis and by the effect of isometric contraction. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 74, 397- 403.
[2] Allen, B. P. (2000). Personality Theories (3rd Edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
[3] Aroian, K. J., Kulwicki, A., Kaskiri, E. A., Templin, T. N., & Wells, C. L. (2007). Psychometric evaluation of the Arabic language version of the Profile of Mood States. Research in Nursing & Health, 30, 531-541. doi:10.1002/nur.20211
[4] Bundra, A. (1977). Social learning theory: Upper saddle river. N. J: Prentice Hall.
[5] Crumbaugh, J. C., & Maholic, L. T. (1964). An experimental study in existentialism: The psychometric approach to Frankl’s concept of noogenic neurosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20, 200-207. doi:10.1002/1097-4679(196404)20:2<200::AID-JCLP2270200203>3.0.CO;2-U
[6] Frankl, V. E. (1972). The meaning of meaninglessness: A challenge to psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 32, 85-89. doi:10.1007/BF01872487
[7] Ishida, R. (2008). Correlations between purpose in life (ikigai) and state anxiety in schizoid temperament with considerations of early life, youth, and adulthood experiences. Acta Medica et Biologica, 56, 27-32.
[8] Ishida, R. (2008). Correlation between social desirability and autonomic nervous function under goal-oriented stress (mental arithmetic) with consideration of parental attitude. Autonomic Nervous System, 45, 242-249.
[9] Ishida, R., & Okada, M. (2006). Effects of a firm purpose in life on anxiety and sympathetic nervous activity caused by emotional stress: Assessment by psycho-physiological method. Stress Health, 22, 275-281.
[10] Sato, F., & Tanaka, H. (1974). An experimental study on the existential aspect of life: Part Ⅰ. Tohoku Psychologica Folia, 33, 20- 46.
[11] Shirasa, T. (1981). Textbook of developmental psychology. Tokyo: Kawashima-Shoten.
[12] Stanga, Z., Field, J., Iff, S., Stucki, A., Lobo, D. N., & Allison, S. P. (2007). The effect of nutritional management on the mood of malnourished patients. Clinical Nutrition, 26, 379-382. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2007.01.010
[13] Ueda, S., & Yoshimori, M. (1991). An attempt to make the Japanese version of the Martin-Larsen Approval Motivation Scale. Annual report of studies of Department of Education, Hiroshima university, 39, 151-156. (in Japanese)
[14] Umemoto, T. (1969). Word asociation norms. Tokyo: Tokyo university press. (in Japanese)
[15] Yokoyama, K. (2006). POMS short form. Tokyo: Kaneko-Shobo.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.