A closer look at life goals across adulthood: Applying a developmental perspective to content, dynamics, and outcomes of goal importance and goal attainability

Bühler, Janina Larissa; Weidmann, Rebekka; Nikitin, Jana; Grob, Alexander (2019). A closer look at life goals across adulthood: Applying a developmental perspective to content, dynamics, and outcomes of goal importance and goal attainability. European journal of personality, 33(3), pp. 359-384. Wiley 10.1002/per.2194

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It is well established that goals energize and direct behaviour across the lifespan. To better understand how goals are embedded in people's lives across adulthood, the present research examined life goals' content (health, personal growth, prosocial engagement, social relations, status, work), dynamics (interplay between goal importance and goal attainability), and outcomes (subjective well‐being) from a developmental perspective. We argue that people rate those goals as important and attainable that enable them to master developmental tasks, that they adapt their goals to personal capacities, and that goals predict subjective well‐being after 2 and 4 years. The sample included 973 individuals (18–92 years old, M = 43.00 years) of whom 637 participated 2 years later and 573 participated 4 years later. Goal importance and well‐being were assessed at all occasions and goal attainability at the first two occasions. Results indicated that age was negatively associated with importance and attainability of personal‐growth, status, and work goals but positively associated with importance and attainability of prosocial‐engagement goals. The association between goal importance and attainability was largely bidirectional over time; and goal attainability, rather than goal importance, was positively linked to later well‐being. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of adult lifespan development.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Bühler, Janina Larissa

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0890-2070

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jennifer Ruth Sprenger

Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2020 12:27

Last Modified:

17 Feb 2020 12:27

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/per.2194

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.140256

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/140256

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