Find Out More About Life Purpose

If you're a university student, you can take the course CSPH 3211 - Living on Purpose: An Exploration of Self, Purpose, and Community through the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing.


Books and articles

Bamia, C., Trichopoulou, A., Trichopoulos, D. (2008). Age at retirement and mortality in a general population sample: the Greek EPIC study. American Journal of Epidemiology; 167 (5): 561-569.

Boyle, P.A., Buchman, A.S., Wilson, R.S., Yu, L., Schneider, J.A., Bennett, D.A. (2012). Effect of purpose in life on the relation between Alzheimer disease pathologic changes on cognitive function in advanced age. Archives of General Psychiatry;69(5):499-505.

Boyle, P.A., Buchman, A.S., Bennett, D.A. (2010). Purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk of incident disability among community-dwelling older persons.  Am J Geriatr Psychiatry; 18(12):1093-1102.

Boyle, P.A., Buchman, A.S., Barnes, L.L., Bennett, D.A. (2010). Effect of a purpose in life on risk of incident Alzheimer disease and mild cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older persons.  Archives of General Psychiatry;67(3):304-310.

Boyle, P.A., Barnes, L.L., Buchman, A.S., Bennett, D.A. (2009). Purpose in life is associated with mortality among community-dwelling older persons.  Psychosom Med;71(5):574-579.

Carmody, J., Baer, R. A., L B Lykins, E., & Olendzki, N. (2009). An empirical study of the mechanisms of mindfulness in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 613-626.

Diener, E. Fujita, F., Tay, L., Biswas-Diener, R. (2012). Purpose, mood, and pleasure in predicting satisfaction judgments. Social Indicators Research; 105(3), 333-341.

Jacobs, T.L., Epel, E.S., Lin, J., Blackburn, E.H., et al.  (2011). Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators. Psychoneuroendocrinology; 36(5):664-81.

Koizumi, M., Ito, H., Kaneko, Y., Motohashi, Y. (2008). Effect of having a sense of purpose in life on the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. Journal of Epidemiology;18(5):191-6.

Leider, R. (2010). A year of living purposefully. Living on Purpose. Retrieved from

Leider, R. (2010). The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The how of happiness. New York: Penguin Press.

McKnight, P., Kashdan, T. (2009). Purpose in life as a system that creates and sustains health and well-being: an integrative, testable theory. Review of General Psychology; 13(3), 242-251.

Rath, T., Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing: The five essential elements. New York: Gallup Press.

Ryff, C.D., Singer, B.H., Dienberg Love, G. (2004). Positive health: connecting well-being with biology. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci; 359(1449), 1383–1394.

Smith, B. W., Tooley, E. M., Montague, E. Q., Robinson, A. E., Cosper, C. J., & Mullins, P. G. (2009). The role of resilience and purpose in life in habituation to heat and cold pain. The Journal of Pain: Official Journal of the American Pain Society, 10(5), 493-500.

Tanno, K., Sakata, K., Ohsawa, M., Onoda, T., Itai, K., Yaegashi, Y., Tamakoshi, A.; JACC Study Group. (2009). Associations of ikigai as a positive psychological factor with all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality among middle-aged and elderly Japanese people: findings from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research; 67(1):67-75.

Tsai, S. P., Wendt, J. K., Donnelly, R. P., de Jong, G., & Ahmed, F. S. (2005). Age at retirement and long term survival of an industrial population: Prospective cohort study. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 331(7523), 995.

Zolli, A. (2012). Resilience: Why things bounce back. New York: Free Press.