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Videos on purpose and youth development


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Having a purpose in life is vitally important to youth’s health and wellness. That was the take-home message from the first annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) in the BCTR.

The conference – held last fall in California – focused on purpose and health across the lifespan. It included researchers working in areas of education, psychology, biology, and public health from leading universities throughout the country. The conference was hosted by PRYDE co-director Anthony Burrow, an associate professor of human development whose research focuses on purpose as a psychological resource.

All of the full-length talks given by the researchers at the conference are available online, and each presenter also created short videos to explain their work to a wider audience. Motivating the conference was a desire to translate the latest research on purpose into an easily-understandable form for educators, social workers, and program directors.

“The amount of scientific evidence being produced showing the benefits of purpose is staggering,” Burrow said. “Yet, there is some distance between what researchers are finding and what the public knows about these findings. We believe this is unfortunate, and therefore designed a conference that invited leading purpose researchers share their insights, and then asking them to further unpack their findings for a wider audience.

“This is the kind of translation and information delivery PRYDE is well-positioned to do, and it is an exciting and enjoyable experience to be out front in making importance science more accessible to all,” he said.

Thanks to the conference’s success, PRYDE established it as an annual event, Burrow said. Its second conference on purpose – “Purpose in a Diverse Society” – will take place this October in St. Louis. This time, a new group of researchers will present their work on purpose and diversity in a variety of settings including university lecture halls, a museum, and a public library.

You can also find two playlists of the short videos – which include topics such as identity, work and family life, health and social and emotional learning - on the PRYDE YouTube channel.

PRYDE is a program created to promote positive youth development through empirical studies and by providing evidence-based best practices for 4-H and other youth organizations. Its goal is to generate new knowledge about youth development that will directly benefit 4-H participants in New York State and beyond.

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Ways people with a purpose live differently

Tags: Anthony Burrow,   media mention,   PRYDE,   purpose,  

Anthony Burrow

Anthony Burrow

Having purpose in life - an underlying sense of meaning that guides what you do - boosts self-esteem and self-worth, finds Anthony Burrow, co-director of the BCTR's Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). A recent Huffington Post piece examined the ways people with a purpose live differently, using Burrow's recent research into Facebook likes as a test of the effects of purpose on self-esteem:

What motivates you is entirely up to you. But understanding your own priorities, knowing what you are working to accomplish and being committed to meaningful causes can help balance your sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
“It’s not really about what the content of a person’s purpose is, but the strength of it ― how much they’ve committed to the idea that there’s something that they’re pursuing,” study author Anthony Burrow, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, told The Huffington Post.
It’s important to note that having a sense of purpose is different from having goals, Burrow added. Goals are pursuits you can accomplish, he said. “Purpose is sort of an overarching direction for which you use to organize and align your goals.”
What the study revealed about people with purpose
Burrow and team wanted to investigate the way higher levels of purpose affected self-esteem, so they conducted two experiments. In the first, they surveyed Facebook users about purpose, self-esteem and average number of “likes” their posts typically received, finding the more likes people tended to receive, the higher their self-esteem tended to be. Except that for the individuals who reported having a high sense of purpose, there was no relationship between self-esteem and number of “likes.”
For the second experiment, the researchers created a fake social media site (to confirm that the results of the first experiment weren’t Facebook-specific). Plus, using a fake site allowed the researchers to manipulate the number of likes a given user received ― and then measure how that number (above-average, average or below-average) affected an individual’s reported level of self-esteem.
Self-esteem was higher in general if the individuals were told they had received a high number of “likes” and lower if they were told they had received a low number of “likes.” But, Burrow added: “There was no relationship between the number of likes people received and their self-esteem if they had a high sense of purpose.”

7 Ways People With A Purpose Live Differently - Huffington Post

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