OBJECTIVES: While sense of purpose is a robust predictor of well-being, little work has considered whether the associations vary based on future time perspective. Exploring this possibility is important given that the extent to which one may pursue their life aims could be dependent upon how much time they feel that they have remaining.
METHODS: Using three samples (total n = 2333), the current study considered the association between sense of purpose and future time perspective. Moderation tests also examined whether the associations between sense of purpose and three well-being components (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction) differed as a function of future time perspective.
RESULTS: Across all three studies, people with a broader time perspective reported a higher sense of purpose. Both constructs predicted greater well-being, even after accounting for chronological age. Future time perspective moderated the associations between sense of purpose and well-being, such that the negative association between sense of purpose and negative affect was stronger for those with a broader time perspective and the positive association between sense of purpose and life satisfaction was stronger for those with a limited time perspective.
CONCLUSION: The well-being benefits associated with sense of purpose in adulthood may depend on future time perspective. Findings are discussed in the context of how purpose can be harnessed to enhance well-being even when older adults feel that their time left is limited.