Date of Award

Winter 1-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Additional Affiliations

Social & Personality

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Sense of purpose, or the extent to which one feels that they have personally meaningful goals and a direction guiding them through life, has consistently predicted a variety of desirable well-being, health, and social outcomes. However, work has been limited with respect to evaluating it as a predictor and promoter of social relationships, especially romantic ones. With existing cross-sectional evidence showing sense of purpose is positively related to romantic relationship outcomes like commitment and satisfaction, the current study expanded on past findings by using longitudinal data to evaluate whether sense of purpose predicted relationship dissolution, change in relationship quality, and potential mechanisms that might explain these associations (Wave 1: n = 2243, Mage = 54.5, 42.6% Female; Wave 2: n = 1200, Mage = 54.8, 40.7% Female). Results showed that greater sense of purpose predicted maintaining a romantic relationship and higher romantic relationship quality predicted an increase in sense of purpose. Furthermore, purpose invalidation, positive affect, and perceived partner responsiveness partially mediated the associations between sense of purpose and relationship quality, while sense of purpose still showed a direct effect on relationship quality. Findings are discussed regarding how these results add to the previous literature and future research endeavors to further explore these associations.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Patrick L. Hill

Committee Members

Tammy English Randy Larsen