The Meaning and Purpose Study information summary

Welcome to the Meaning and Purpose project,

Research tells us that developing a sense of purpose and meaning in life is associated with physical and mental health and wellbeing. This collaborative research project between the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre and the City of Adelaide investigates whether it is possible to build more meaning in life using brief activities provided to you on a smartphone app.  We do this by comparing survey results of people who test the app for a week, with results of people who are placed on a waitlist (and get access to the app a week later).

When going through the program, you will:
  • identify the sources of meaning in your life,
  • start to  better understand your own sense of meaning,
  • identify deeply held values important for meaning and purpose
  • make some key short-term goals to build meaning in your life, and
  • start working on developing your own purpose in life.
At the end of this program we hope that you will have a better understanding of how your values, purpose, and goals work together to build a sense of meaning,  and give you some concrete ways you can keep growing your meaning in life into the future.

Below we will briefly summarise the important aspects of this research project. 
  • Who can participate? adults over the age of 18 who can read and write English at a conversational level and feel comfortable downloading and using a mobile phone application (either Android or Apple).
  • What does my participation involve? you will fill out two, 20 minute surveys, each one week a part. You will either be allocated to receive access to the app immediately or after one week. The program consists of seven daily activities that take about 10 minutes to do. You will also be asked to complete three short questions at random times throughout the day.
  • What are the benefits? this app has been developed using evidence-based research and is intended to help build a sense of meaning and purpose, but the program is untested, therefore no benefits can be guaranteed. Participating will help build scientific knowledge on ways to build meaning and purpose.
  • What are the risks and measures to minimise risk? We expect minimal risk, but as we ask some questions regarding your mental health and wellbeing, you may experience some distress. Please do not undertake this program if you are currently struggling with mental health issues. If any of these topics cause you distress and you wish to seek support.
    • Lifeline: 13 11 14
    • Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
  • Data and confidentiality: your data will be de-identified and retained securely for five years. No other organisations or persons outside of the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre will have access to your confidential data. Any data included in reports of scientific publications will be de-identified and cannot be connected back to you in any way.
  • May I have a copy of the results? All participants will receive a brief report on the outcomes of the study once all data has been analysed. You are welcome to access a copy of the final publication of this study by contacting the researchers mentioned below.
The Flinders University Human Research Ethics Committee has reviewed and approved this study (project number 8154). Should you wish to discuss the project with someone not directly involved, in particular in relation to matters concerning policies, information about the conduct of the study, or your rights as a participant, please contact the Executive Office of the Human Research Ethics Committee, at

If you have any further questions regarding this project, or want to read the in-depth Participant Information Sheet, please feel free to email either Joseph Van Agteren or Jonathan Bartholomaeus at

We thank you for your consideration to participate in this research project.

The research project team
  • Joseph Van Agteren:
  • Jonathan Bartholomaeus:
  • Matthew Iasiello:
  • Laura Lo:
  • Gabrielle Kelly:
If you wish to participate in the study please go to the consent page by clicking “next”. If you do not wish to proceed please close the browser.

This research project has been approved by the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee in South Australia (Project number 8154). For queries regarding the ethics approval of this project, or to discuss any concerns or complaints, please contact the Executive Officer of the committee via telephone on +61 8 8201 3116 or email