The relationship between goal characteristics and emotional well-being

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ariana C. Hoet (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kari Eddington

Abstract: Emotional well-being can be affected by the type of goals people have, how they view their goals, and their progress toward those goals. This paper proposed that characteristics of the cognitive representations of people’s personal goals, such as having goals in different life domains (goal diversity) and their level of abstraction, can have an impact on emotional well-being both independently and when a person is faced with a negative goal-related life event. To test the relationships between goal characteristics and emotional well-being, students from an introductory psychology class reported their goals at the beginning of the academic year and completed questionnaires assessing aspects of emotional well-being, including depressive symptoms and worrying. At the end of the academic year, students were asked to describe life events associated with the most stressful time during the year and rate their depressive symptoms. Goals obtained were coded to determine level of abstraction and life domain. It was hypothesized that people with more abstract goals would report lower emotional well-being. Also, the study aimed to look at how goal diversity correlated with emotional well-being. Finally, the moderating effect of goal diversity at Time 1 on the effect of a goal-related life event on emotional well-being at Time 2 was tested. Additionally, it was hypothesized that goal adjustment would interact with life categories to predict emotional well-being. Results did not support the initial hypotheses for the study. Goal diversity was not found to be correlated with negative emotional well-being or to have a moderating role on the effect of a negative life-event. However, main effects were found for GAS reengagement (ß = -.15, p = .003) and number of categories (ß = .12, p = .021).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Depression, Diversity, Goal, Well-Being, Worry
Goals (Psychology)
College students $x Mental health

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