Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




William R. Dobson


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between meaning or purpose in life as measured by Crumbaugh's Purpose in Life Test, and the degree of religious commitment of college students, with particular interest in the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Religious commitment was measured by Hoge's Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale (IRM).

Two hundred and fifty-five undergraduates, 122 males and 132 females, enrolled in introductory psychology and sociology classes at Utah State University during spring quarter, 1975, served as subjects.

A two-way analysis of variance calculated separately for the LDS and non-LDS groups was used to test three hypotheses: (1) there will be a significant difference among the mean PIL scores for the high, moderate, and low religious commitment groups (in that order); (2) females will be significantly higher in their sense of purpose in life than males; (3) females will be significantly higher in their sense of purpose in life in all religious commitment groups.

Hypothesis 1 was significant beyond the .05 level for the LDS group. A Sheffe test indicated the difference was between the high and the low religious commitment groups only. Hypotheses 2 and 3 were not supported. None of the three hypotheses were supported for the nonLDS group. T-ratios computed between the three corresponding levels of religious commitment for the LDS and non-LDS groups were significant beyond the .05 level.

A significant positive relationship for males beyond the .05 level was found between sex and religious commitment. No relationship was found between sex and purpose in life. A significant positive relationship beyond the .05 level was found between religious commitment and purpose in life. No significant differences were found between year in school, marital status, and socioeconomic status on either purpose in life or religious commitment. Significant differences beyond the .05 level were found between religious commitment and church attendance, and between religious commitment and activity in church organizations.

It was concluded that the results support the premise that religion can have a significant impact on an individual's sense of purpose in life as defined by Frankl (1963), particularly if the individual's religion encourages active involvement on the part of the individual. The effect is especially strong if high religious belief, high religious participation, and social activity outside of church occur together.



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