Purpose & Well-Being,
Research & Practice


How do people find their purpose in life? 

For years, my research explored how people change behavior–in homelessness, crime, and religion. Now, it has shifted to conceptually prior questions: What should people change their behavior to, and how do they figure out what this is? This has taken me into the study of well-being and, especially, purpose.

My research now creates and tests interventions designed to increase one’s sense of purpose in life. They include in-person training events as well as a journal. This type of experimental research gives deep insight into the processes of purpose discovery. It also readily lends itself to improving people’s quality of life–something that becomes increasingly important to me with each passing year.  


We academics are trained to be irrelevant. Our ideas are for journals to be hidden in libraries.

In 2020, my students encouraged me to start a podcast to share our findings with the public. Soon, however, the podcast became a great way of learning about purpose. Guests include experts who study purpose, practitioners who guide others into it, and people who have had profound purpose experiences.

New episodes of the School of Purpose Podcast air each Wednesday on Apple, Spotify, Google, and other platforms.


Reconsidering Facebook

Reconsidering Facebook

Several years ago, I posted a photograph to my Facebook page.  It was a beautiful moment, and it got many likes and comments. It also demonstrated...

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Moderation vs. Abstinence

Moderation vs. Abstinence

Do you have behaviors in your life that you would like to do less often? Me too. Cutting back on a behavior falls under the heading of moderation or...

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Contact Information

Dept of Sociology, U-1068
344 Mansfield Road
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT  06269