Personal goals give life meaning to the extent that they relate to a larger program of life concerns (Baumeister, 1990). This project examines the links between everyday goals or personal strivings (PSs; Emmons, 1986) and possible selves (images of the self in the future, Markus & Ruvolo, 1989) as predictors of goal attainment, disengagement, and WB and meaning in life. These studies also address the importance of reconstructing possible serves in adjustment to life change. In Studies 1 and 2, subjects will complete measures of PSs, possible selves, WB, and meaning in life and draw links between their PSs and possible selves. These links are predicted to relate to WB and meaningfulness, concurrently and prospectively. Linking one's present intentions to future goals is predicted to result in heightened well-being and a greater sense of purpose in life. In Studies 3 and 4, pre-med and acting majors will complete the same measures, as well as a measure of ego development (ED), and take part in a 21-day daily mood study during their first year of college. PSs, possible selves, ED and WB will be measured at various times during the next four years. The link between PSs and possible selves is predicted to mediate responses to events in the daily mood study. At the end of the four years, increased WB, ED, and meaning in life are expected for those who have reconstructed their goals and future selves when a long cherished future is no longer available. Studies 5 and 6 investigate the physical and mental health benefits of confronting loss and reconstructing possible selves, correlationally and experimentally. It is predicted that those who deeply explore lost selves as well as construct hoped-for future selves will show health benefits and increased meaning in life. The remaining studies generalize these findings to groups who have experienced major changes in identity. Examples of subjects who will participate include parents of a child with Down Syndrome, gay men and lesbians, individuals diagnosed as HIV+, and people who have experienced divorce. Individuals who thrive through life changes are expected to organize everyday goals around elaborate new possible selves, commensurate with those that have been lost to them.
|King, L A; Broyles, S J (1997) Wishes, gender, personality, and well-being. J Pers 65:49-76|
|King, L A (1995) Wishes, motives, goals, and personal memories: relations of measures of human motivation. J Pers 63:985-1007|