Assessment of Meaning in Adolescents Receiving Clinical Services in Mississippi Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: An Application of the Purpose in Life Test-Short Form (PIL-SF)

Stefan E. Schulenberg, C. Veronica Smith, Christopher F. Drescher, Erin M. Buchanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study's purpose was to assess perceived meaning in adolescents. Specifically, our goals were to examine the psychometric properties of the Purpose in Life test-Short Form (PIL-SF) and its ability to predict psychological outcomes in an adolescent sample. Method: Aspects of well-being (self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and resilience) and psychological distress (posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and general stress) were assessed in a sample of adolescents (N = 91; 58.2% female; mean age = 14.89) receiving clinical services following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Results: Meaning was positively associated with life satisfaction, self-efficacy, and resilience, and negatively associated with posttraumatic stress and depression. Meaning was not significantly related to anxiety or general stress. Females reported significantly more meaning than males, while no significant differences were noted by race/ethnicity. Conclusions: The PIL-SF is a useful measure with adolescents. Moreover, meaning is an important concept to consider with respect to disasters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1286
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  • Gulf Oil Spill
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • disaster mental health
  • life satisfaction
  • meaning
  • posttraumatic stress
  • purpose in life
  • resilience
  • self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology

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