Life Engagement Test (LET)


Author of Tool: 

Scheier, M. F., Wrosch, C., Baum, A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Matthews, K. A., Schulz, R., & Zdaniuk, B.

Key references: 

Scheier, M. F., Wrosch, C., Baum, A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Matthews, K. A., Schulz, R., & Zdaniuk, B. (2006). The Life Engagement Test: Assessing purpose in life. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 291-298.

Primary use / Purpose: 

This scale is designed to measure purpose in life, defined in terms of the extent to which a person engages in activities that are personally valued.


Recent models of behavioral self-regulation (Carver and Scheier, 1981, 1990, 1998), themselves descendents of generations of expectancyvalue models of motivation (Atkinson, 1964; Vroom, 1964; Feather, 1982; Shah and Higgins, 1997), suggest that two elements are important in creating behavior: (a) the ability to identify goals that are valued and (b) the perception that those goals are attainable. Of these two elements, it is the value dimension that is of interest here. Valued goals are important because they provide a purpose for living. Valued goals also provide the mechanism by which a person remains behaviorally engaged in life. According to this view, behavior occurs either because the behavior represents a valued goal in and of itself (e.g., exercising for exercise sake) or because it is instrumental in achieving a more abstract, higher order goal that is valued (e.g., exercising in order to be “healthy”). The Life Engagement Test (LET) measures purpose in life. 


The authors obtained acceptable Cronbach’s alphas in all cases, ranging between .72 and .87, averaging .80. They administered the LET twice, approximately 4 months apart. The testretest correlations ranged from .61 to .76, suggesting that the LET is moderately stable, at least over the period of several months. The data overall suggest that the Life Engagement Test is psychometrically sound across different gender, age, and ethnic groups and is appropriate for wider use.



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