Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Frankl (1963) suggested that we each have a uniqueness that is irreplaceable. Just as no two people have the same set of fingerprints, no two people have exactly the same set of strengths, talents, passions and experiences. Therefore, each person can make a distinct contribution to this world. Each of us has a unique purpose for our lives. People who live their purpose enjoy greater health, life satisfaction and overall well-being (Kashdan & McKnight, 2009). However, many people are not living their purpose – and worse yet, they aren’t sure what their purpose is. In desperate search for purpose, they are miserable (Steger, 2008). Among this group are Generation X women who have “everything” – more education, successful careers and their own homes - and yet many feel empty inside. Despite achieving more objective success, women today are significantly more depressed than women were 30 years ago (Stevenson & Wolfers, 2009). Perhaps women are looking in the wrong places for their own happiness. Positive psychology, the scientific study of well-being finds that meaning is one of the critical aspects of human flourishing (Seligman, 2002, 2011). Akin to Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of human needs, the highest need is living beyond oneself toward a greater good – a fate to which one is called. This calling is our life purpose and when living our purpose, we flourish. The first half of this document reviews existing literature on meaning and purpose, describes the value of purpose, and the consequences when one is “stuck” searching for their purpose. The second half offers a research-based positive psychology program for finding one’s purpose. As such, this work offers tremendous opportunity to empower women, enhance their lives and that of those around them. Moreover, as purpose necessarily supports a greater good, with more people living their purpose, society flourishes.


positive psychology, purpose, meaning, happiness, well-being, women


Purpose and Meaning, Well-Being/Flourishing





Date Posted: 14 November 2017