The Development of Purpose

The Development of Purpose

Call Status

Deadline for Participation


Special Issue Guest Editors:

Maurice J. EliasDanielle Hatchimonji, and Arielle LinskyRutgers University

The Journal of Character Education publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts that add to the body of knowledge of research and practical applications in our field. We are soliciting manuscripts for an upcoming issue of the JCE devoted to the best ideas for developing purpose in children and adolescents. As defined by Damon et al. (2003), purpose is, “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at once meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self” (121). Research indicates that students with a stronger sense of purpose are more successful on academic and social outcomes compared to their less-purposeful peers (Bronk, Hill, Lapsley, Talib, & Finch, 2009; Damon, 2008; Hill, Edmonds, Peterson, Luyckx, & Andrews, 2016; Yeager & Bundick, 2009). Yet, little is known about effective methods to cultivate and assess purpose in youth, particularly in communities beset by structural and institutional inequities.

We would appreciate you sharing this information with your colleagues, and considering submitting your own manuscript for this special issue. We are seeking manuscripts describing conceptual, theoretical, and practical examples of the development of purpose in children, adolescents, and emerging adults. For example, manuscripts might address all, or some, of the following areas of inquiry:

  • Programs or processes that promote the development of purpose and how these interventions have influenced student, teacher, parent, school, and/or district social and academic outcomes. 
  • Meta-analysis or systematic review of current research on the development of youth purpose- what methods have been proven to be effective and what should future research seek to understand? 
  • Methodologies for assessing the construct of purpose throughout developmental stages. 
  • How the study of youth purpose fits into existing paradigms of character and moral development. 
  • Effective methods and/or relevant experiences relating to development of purpose from the practitioner perspective. 
  • Preference will be given to manuscripts that focus on underserved populations. 

Directions to Contributors

Those interested in contributing are encouraged to send a summary of concept to the Guest Editors for the Special Issue, for preliminary feedback, to the following email address: The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2017.

Chapter Submission

All manuscripts submitted must conform to the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 6th edition. Manuscripts must be typewritten, double spaced throughout with 1” to 1.5” margins all around. Manuscripts typically should run between 10-20 pages in length, excluding references. Photographs are not usually published. All manuscripts typically include an abstract of 100-150 words and a separate title page that includes the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the authors as well as contact information for the lead author: address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address. Following preliminary editorial review, manuscripts are sent for blind review to reviewers who have expertise in the subject of the article. The title page will be removed before the manuscript is distributed to reviewers. Note: Articles from the practitioner perspective will not be blind reviewed, but will be peer reviewed by experts in the field of implementation of school-based social-emotional, character, and moral development interventions.


Bronk, K. C., Hill, P. L., Lapsley, D. K., Talib, T. L., & Finch, H. (2009). Purpose, hope, and life satisfaction in three age groups. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 500-510.

Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: Helping our children find their calling in life. New York: The Free Press.

Damon, W., Menon, J., & Bronk, K. C. (2003). The development of purpose during adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 7(3), 119–128.

Hill, P. L., Edmonds, G. W., Peterson, M., Luyckx, K., & Andrews, J. A. (2016). Purpose in life in emerging adulthood: Development and validation of a new brief measure. Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(3), 237-245.

Yeager, D. S., & Bundick, M. J. (2009). The role of purposeful work goals in promoting meaning in life and in schoolwork during adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24(4), 423-452.