Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 291-298

First online:

The Life Engagement Test: Assessing Purpose in Life

  • Michael F. ScheierAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University Email author 
  • , Carsten WroschAffiliated withConcordia University
  • , Andrew BaumAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Sheldon CohenAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Lynn M. MartireAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Karen A. MatthewsAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Richard SchulzAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Bozena ZdaniukAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh

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This article describes a 6-item scale, the Life Engagement Test, designed to measure purpose in life, defined in terms of the extent to which a person engages in activities that are personally valued. Psychometric data are presented including information about the scale's factor structure, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, convergent validity, discriminant predictive validity, and norms. The data suggest that the Life Engagement Test is psychometrically sound across different gender, age, and ethnic groups and is appropriate for wider use. Discussion centers on the use of the Life Engagement Test in behavioral medicine and health psychology research and recent associations that have begun to emerge between the scale and health-relevant outcomes.


purpose in life life engagement assessment factor structure psychometrics