Individual differences in response to goal conflict: impact of causality orientations on goal progress and emotional well-being during goal conflict

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: Goal progress and attainment of important personal goals is related to higher well-being. Obstacles in goal progress, such as holding multiple, conflicting goals, can lead to a negative change in well-being. However, most goal research has focused on single goals despite the reality that most individuals hold multiple goals at one time. Some research indicates that competition among goals negatively influences progress and emotional well-being, although results are mixed. The current study aimed to understand the influence of goal conflict on emotional well-being and to explore individual trait-level moderators of response to conflict. The moderator that was explored was causality orientations, or individuals' tendency to pursue goals for reasons of personal value or external pressure. First, it was hypothesized that goal progress would mediate the relationship between goal conflict and well-being. Second, it was hypothesized that causality orientations would moderate the relationship between goal conflict and goal progress. Progress on goals and self-reported well-being were measured a month after participants identified their goals to assess for the possibility that person-level conflict predicted emotional well-being through goal progress. Results indicated that goal progress mediates the relationship between conflict and certain well-being variables. Specifically, high goal conflict was related to low goal progress, which in turn lead to higher depressive symptoms and lower life satisfaction and positive affect. The hypothesis that causality orientations (controlled versus autonomous) would moderate the path between conflict and goal progress was not supported.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Causality orientations, Goal conflict, Goals, Self-determination theory, Well-being
Conflict of interests
Goals (Psychology)
Conflict (Psychology)
Autonomy (Psychology)
Orientation (Psychology)

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