Individuals can find a purpose or direction for life prior to reaching adulthood, with parental figures often functioning as scaffolds. However, research is lacking with respect to understanding whether purposeful emerging adults have more positive relationships with their parents. The current studies provide initial insights into this possibility using two university samples (N = 553). Study 1 demonstrated that emerging adults who report a higher sense of purpose tend to have more positive attachments to parental figures. Study 2 found that emerging adults with a higher sense of purpose also reported fewer difficulties with the separation–individuation process, which in turn partially explained why purposeful emerging adults report a greater sense of personal mastery. Results are discussed with respect to setting a foundation for future research.

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Keywords emerging adulthood, parent attachment, personal mastery, purpose in life, separation–individuation
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Journal Emerging Adulthood
Hill, P.L, Burrow, A.L. (Anthony L.), & Sumner, R. (Rachel). (2016). Sense of Purpose and Parent–Child Relationships in Emerging Adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 4(6), 436–439. doi:10.1177/2167696816640134