Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Ralph G. Brockett

Committee Members

Steve McCallum, Luther M. Kindall, Michael G. Johnson


The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a scale to measure ikigai (meaning in life) among Japanese elders. The Ikigai Scale was developed through a four-step process: initial creation of items, experts' review of items, implementation of a pilot study, and final refinement of the scale in the main study. The pilot study questionnaire included Part 1 (11 demographic questions and two questions about ikigai). Part II (the 60-item Ikigai Scale), and Part III (four previously-standardized scales, including the Japanese version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Japanese version of the Purpose in Life Test, the "Energy for Living" factor in the Quality of Life Index, and the "Present Life Satisfaction" factor in the Quality of Life Index). The main study questionnaire included Part I and Part II (the 49-item Ikigai Scale). In the pilot study, 63 retired principals were used for the analysis. In the main study, 173 retired principals and 93 residents in a home for the aged were used for the analysis. The completed Ikigai Scale consists of 28 positive-statement items and has four factors: Self-Esteem, Purpose in Life, Life Satisfaction, and Personal Energy. Both studies supported the validity and reliability of the Ikigai Scale. Each item fit well into the conceptualized four factors; all items were closely related to one another; each of the four factors in the scale were acceptable to highly reliable (Cronbach's Alphas; ranged from .83 to .90), and the entire scale itself was reliable (α = .95). Each of the four factors was correlated with one of four previously-standardized scales; each of the four factors positively related with the others; and each of the four factors was significantly higher for the retired principals than the home residents. The revised scale was named the Four-Factor Ikigai Scale.

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