Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 579–592 | Cite as

Perceived Change in Life Satisfaction and Daily Negative Affect: The Moderating Role of Purpose in Life

  • Anthony L. BurrowEmail author
  • Rachel Sumner
  • Anthony D. Ong
Research Paper


Perceiving changes in life satisfaction has been linked to diminished health and well-being. Purpose in life is theorized to promote well-being by providing a sense of personal consistency, which may buffer the negative consequences of perceived change. Using data from the Midlife in the United States study, a cluster analysis was performed to explore profiles of adults’ (N = 1,746) ratings of life satisfaction for their past, present, and future. The analysis yielded three distinct profiles: continuous high, incremental, and decremental. Relative to the other profiles, decremental adults reported greater levels and variability of negative affect in everyday life. However, purpose moderated these effects such that no between-profile differences in negative affect level or variability were detected for adults reporting greater levels of purpose. Purpose is discussed as an asset for promoting positive adjustment in adulthood.


Purpose in life Perceived change Life satisfaction Daily negative affect 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony L. Burrow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rachel Sumner
    • 1
  • Anthony D. Ong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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