2009 Presentation - The Factor Structure Of Personal Goals

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Stauner, N. (2009). The factor structure of personal goals. Presented in the Proseminar for Current Research in Personality Psychology, June 4, University of California, Riverside.

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  • Question: What are the essential themes of goals?A difficult question to answer, because…Answer must balancesimplicity with exhaustivenessMust facilitate analysis of individual differencesMust aim to explain and predict psychological outcomesI’ll begin with an overview of existing motive structure theoryGive a summary of our lab’s work on goalsDescribe our participants and measuresListmy analyses & resultsFactor analyses identified 7 categories of goals Factor analysis of standardized goal parcels identified 3 bipolar goal tradeoffsGive my interpretationsMention a few limitations & plans for the future
  • List of instincts (McDougall, 1908, 1933)In one of the first social psychology textbooksLife and Death Instincts (Freud, 1920)List of motives (Murray, 1938)Hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943)Maslow (1943) criticized the “lists of drives” approach and proposed that motive classifications be based on goals instead of “instigating drives.”List of “ergs” from factor analysis (Cattell, 1957, 1975)The first a posteriori theoryAgency & Communion (Bakan, 1966; Hogan, 1983; Wiggins, 1991; Leary, 1956)Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000)Motivational Systems Theory (Ford, 1992)MST divides goals into within-person and person-environment goalsWithin-person: affective, cognitive, and subjective organization (transcendence & unity)Person-environment: Assertive / integrative social relationships, and tasks
  • Rationally designed ways of analyzing rationally generated constructsThematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray, 1943)Projective testSixteen ambiguous picturesEdwards Personal Preference Schedule (1959)Two hundred twenty-five forced-choice itemsPersonality Research Form (Jackson, 1984)Describes trait-like tendenciesNot state-like motives, nor their objectivesAssessment of Personal Goals (Ford & Nichols, 1987)Twenty-four five-item scales measuring goals from authors’ taxonomyItems describe situations designed to activate goal-relevant “behavior episode schemata”Situations designed to activate goal-relevant “behavior episode schemata” = situations are designed to elicit responses that suggest the strength of a broader goal Example given was a mastery item: “You’re stuck on the last few words of a crossword puzzle. Would you feel a need to finish the puzzle?
  • Empirical ways of categorizing rationally generated goal constructsPrincipal components analysis of goal importance ratings (Richards, 1966)Prestige, Personal Happiness, Humanistic-Cultural, Religious, Scientific, Artistic, Hedonistic, Altruistic, Athletic SuccessFrom 35 vocational, social, & personal goals of unspecified origin12,432 college freshmen from all across the country! Principal components analyses of six goal ratings (Novacek & Lazarus, 1990)Novacek ratings: expectancy to achieve, importance, effort, distress if failed, commitment, and visibility of commitment to othersAffiliation, Power/Achievement, Personal Growth, Altruism, Stress Avoidance, Sensation-SeekingCompiled 45 “commitment” items from goals, values, & personal projects literatureHierarchical cluster analyses and factor analyses of goal desire ratings (Wicker, Lambert, Richardson, & Kahler, 1984)Clusters: Individual Striving vs. Harmony SeekingFactors: Interpersonal Concern, Competitive Ambition, Exploration-play, Balanced Success, Economic Status, Intellectual OrientationChose 46 goals from a rationally generated list of 200 Added 10 more from students’ free-response lists of goals and independent informants’ rationally generated listsWicker’s added goals: 440 students listed 4 most important goals; 5 unfamiliargrad students listed as many goals as possible
  • Open-ended listing tasks: empirically generated constructs and rationally organized categoriesA general term for intentions to act (Little, 1999)Personal projects (McGregor & Little, 1998)Life tasks (Zirkel & Cantor, 1990)Personal strivings (Emmons, 1986, 1999)Current concerns (Klinger, 1977; Ruehlman, 1985) Core goals (Ford, 1992)Personal goals (Kaiser & Ozer, 1997)Volunteered in a free-response format using participants’ own wordsAggregated and boiled down to frequently volunteered goalsOrganized by common themes into a hierarchical taxonomyTaxonomy features 8 major categories, each with subcategories1. Academic / Occupational 2. Social Relationships3. Financial 4. Health5. Organization 6. Affect Control7. Independence 8. Moral / Religious
  • Includes most goals from our taxonomySixty-five that could be generally, coherently phrasedE.g., “Do well in school,” “Help my romantic partner,” “Save money,” etc.Distinct as the most empirically generated goal listAsks to rate current importance from 1 (“Not one of my goals currently”) to 5 (“Among my most important goals currently”)Introduces new opportunities to analyze goalsCompare importance of all of students’ normative goals across individualsEmpirically categorize goals through factor analysisStudy conflict and tradeoffs in goal prioritizationCreate scales for latent goal groups and tradeoffsCorrelate to other variables of interest
  • N = 691Young adultsMean = 19.2 years ; standard deviation = 2.1 yearsAge range: 17 – 46Gender-balanced (61% female)Ethnically diverse & representative of UCR population49% Asian American24% Hispanic / Latino17% Caucasian6% African American5% other / mixed ethnicityNo international category of ethnicityUCR undergraduates57% freshmen26% sophomores12% juniors5% seniors
  • Too many goals were rated “Among my most important currently”Ninety-five participants said this of over half the goals!Twelvepercent of the sampleThese participants’ data were excluded from analysesPossibly an effect of fatiguePGQ was always administeredafter numerous other questionnaires in these studiesCorrelations with average importance rating:Neuroticism(r = .21, p < .0001)Age (r = -.09, p =.015)Schwartz’ value scales (r = .18 – .28, p < .001) Some goals: End a romantic relationship-.42 Do well in school-.37 Spend more time studying-.23 Be able to support my future family.20 Plan my academic future-.17 Help my parents or siblings.16Some parcelsfuture finances.20 academic-.19
  • Different from the results of Richards (1966)
  • N = 647 due to missing data (deleted listwise)Four itemswith communalities below .25 were removed“End a romantic relationship”“Control my temper”“Manage a chronic/specific health problem”“Reduce consumption of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco”Among the 12 least important goalsNo consistent relationship with other 61 goalsVery large first general factor (Eigenvalue = 8.53)Represents participants’ average goal importanceScree test suggested 6 factorsAfter oblimin rotation, 7 were retained to improve interpretability and simplicity of structure
  • Feel free to make suggestions if you think there might be better namesSelf-enablement (10 goals)Desire to overcome disabling feelings and more freely self-direct behaviorAcademic achievement (9 goals)Oriented toward academic and career outcomesSpirituality (3 goals)Largely religious in natureSocial participation (8 goals)Seek active involvement and improved standing with one’s peers and communityFinances (6 goals)Address present monetaryconcernsPhysical health (4 goals)Aim to improve physicalwell-being and appearanceFamily-building (4 goals)Focus on progressing in romantic relationships and building a family17 goals had no loadings over .35
  • Cattell’s rest-seeking erg, MST’s affective and self-assertive social relationship goals, Ruehlman’s current concerns with mental & emotional health, Novacek & Lazarus’ stress avoidance goal component, Pervin’s reduce tension-conflict-threat goal factor, Emmons’ personal growth & health, intrapersonal avoidance, and self-sufficiency/independence strivings
  • Maslow’s need for esteem; Murray’s, Madsen’s, & McClelland’s nAch; Cantor et al.’s achievement life tasks, Emmons’ achievement & generativity strivings, Emmons’ & McAdams’ achievement motive disposition, McGregor & Little’s achievement identity theme, MST’s task & cognitive goals, Wicker et al.’s intellectual orientation goal cluster, Ruehlman’s current concerns with education
  • Maslow’s desire to know and understand, Emmons’ spiritual self-transcendence strivings, MST’s subjective organization goals, Wicker et al.’s harmony seeking & transpersonal orientation goal clusters, Richards’ religious goal component, Ruehlman’s current concerns with religion
  • Need for affiliation/communion/approval/relatedness/social contact, Cattell’s gregariousness erg, Cantor’s social life tasks, Emmons & McAdams’ affiliation strivings & motive dispositions, McGregor & Little’s communion identity theme, MST’s integrative social relationships goals, Novacek & Lazarus’ affiliation & altruism goal component, Richards’ altruism goal component, Wicker et al.’s interpersonal concern goal cluster, Ruehlman’s current concerns for friends
  • Murray’s needs for acquisition, retention, & conservance; Madsen’s need for possession; Cattell’s acquisitiveness erg; Wicker et al.’s economic status goal cluster; Ruehlman’s current concerns for employment & money
  • Richards’ athletic success goal component, Ruehlman’s current concerns for physical health; Murray’s need for exhibition? Personal strivings for self-presentation?
  • Freud’s & Maslow’s need for love, Murray’s need for nurturance & affiliation, Cattell’s parental protectiveness & mating ergs, Emmons & McAdams’ intimacy motive disposition, Ruehlman’s current concerns for family & home, love & sex
  • Importance ratings were standardized within each participantEliminated the general componentShrunk all remaining eigenvaluesForced bipolarloadings on componentsNo clear solution identifiedAmbiguous number of uninterpretable componentsGoals were parceled to reduce the number of items to be factored and accentuate their heterogeneity Formed from the theoretical organization of the taxonomyMostly identical to the second order of categoriesTwenty parcels of onetoeightitems eachStandardizedratings of all goals were averaged for parcel scores
  • N = 690Twenty parcels of 1 – 8 goals eachAll goals except “End a romantic relationship”Each factor contained parcels with strong positive and negative loadingsRating one set of parcels as highly important often meant rating an opposing set as unimportantIndicates dimensions of goal tradeoffs or conflictScree test suggested 3 factorsOblimin rotationSpiritual versus Financial tradeoff (3 parcels vs. 1)Intimacy versus Self-Enablement tradeoff (3 vs. 2 parcels)Achievement versus Enjoyment tradeoff (2 vs. 2 parcels)8 parcels had no loadings greater than .35 in magnitude
  • Spiritual & community-oriented aspect of Social Participation factors and Moral clusterVs.Financial factor
  • Family-building & Financial factorsVs.Self-enablement factor
  • Academic Achievement factorVs.Non-community-oriented aspect of Social Participation factor
  • Suggests conflict or tradeoffs in priorities may be essentialaspects of the structure of motivesAll goals draw from the same pool of resourcesInconclusive as to why these tradeoffs occurDo the poles reflect preferences and personal values?Materialism vs. Spiritualism, Dependability vs. Independence, & Diligence vs. Enjoyment?Do the poles represent goals concerning more urgent problems or unmet needs?Communion vs. Poverty, Dependents’ Needs vs. Emotional Stabilization, Work Harder vs. Play Harder?
  • Only current, explicit goals assessedNo commonlymet or implicit needsUnderemphasized future goals?No competitive dominanceLimited variety of avoidance goalsThe usual limitations of self-report questionnairesAmbiguity of scale points & scoresConfounds: self-serving bias, social desirability, etc.Cross-sectional UCR conveniencesampleLacks diversity across age, cohort, occupation, educational level, geographic region, and language
  • Need to extend theory and test for comprehensiveness17 goals and 8 parcels need factorial homesNeed more diverse samples to test for demographic differencesNeed a longitudinal design to identify individual developmental trajectoriesWill test replicabilityof all results in archived, current, and future dataWill query participants’ religious denomination, income, & romantic statusWill test relationships with free-response goal lists & ratings, goal conflict, and external variablesPersonality, spirituality, presence & search for meaning & religiousness, life satisfaction, valuesNeed a better way of estimating the reliability of the parcels and scalesRelationships among parceled items are not necessarily strong or positiveParcels are morereliable than the standardized item alphas suggestWill test replicabilityof all results in archived, current, and future dataWill place the PGQ earlier in protocolsAltered instructions to emphasize “most important” instead of “currently”Adding additional instructions to circle the most important goals rated “5”Assess GPA? Credits? Higher educational plans? Parents’ educational level? Job status? Volunteerism? Career plans? BMI? # of children? Health problems?
  • Means & SDs for factors: Mean SDIntimacy vs. Self-Enablement -1.73 1.75Spirituality vs. Finances -0.65 1.60Achievement vs. Enjoyment 0.92 1.12Parcel SWLS r pfamily 0.17 0.0005academic 0.09 0.0659find direction -0.12 0.0172
  • Dan OzerSonja Lyubomirsky & Robin DiMatteoTierra StimsonRyan Howell, Jacob Hershey, Patrick Markey, Michael CassensThe research assistantsFriends and familyAnd last but not least…My gracious audience
  • 2009 Presentation - The Factor Structure Of Personal Goals

    1. 1. The Factor Structure of Personal Goals<br />Nick StaunerUC Riverside<br />
    2. 2. The Factor Structure of Personal GoalsOutline<br />What are the essential themes of goals?<br />Answer must balancesimplicity with exhaustiveness<br />Must facilitate analysis of individual differences<br />Must aim to explain and predict psychological outcomes<br />Existing motive structure theory<br />Our lab’s work on goals<br />Sample, factor analyses & results<br />Interpretations<br />Limitations & future directions<br />
    3. 3. A priori theories of motive structure<br />List of instincts (McDougall, 1908, 1933)<br />In one of the first social psychology textbooks<br />Life and Death Instincts (Freud, 1920)<br />List of motives (Murray, 1938)<br />Hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943)<br />List of “ergs” from factor analysis (Cattell, 1957, 1975)<br />The first a posteriori theory<br />Agency & Communion (Bakan, 1966; Hogan, 1983; Wiggins, 1991; Leary, 1956)<br />Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000)<br />Motivational Systems Theory (Ford, 1992)<br />
    4. 4. Motive assessment instruments<br />Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray, 1943)<br />Projective test<br />Sixteen ambiguous pictures<br />Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (1959)<br />Two hundred twenty-five forced-choice items<br />Personality Research Form (Jackson, 1984)<br />Describes trait-like tendencies<br />Not state-like motives, nor their objectives<br />Assessment of Personal Goals (Ford & Nichols, 1987)<br />Twenty-four five-item scales measuring goals from authors’ taxonomy<br />Items describe situations designed to activate goal-relevant “behavior episode schemata”<br />
    5. 5. Previous analyses of goal structure<br />Principal components analysis of goal importance ratings (Richards, 1966)<br />8 factors: Prestige, Personal Happiness, Humanistic-Cultural, Religious, Scientific, Artistic, Hedonistic, Altruistic / Athletic Success (8th for females / males)<br />From 35 vocational, social, & personal goals of unspecified origin<br />12,432 college freshmen from all across the country! <br />Principal components analyses of six goal ratings (Novacek & Lazarus, 1990)<br />6 factors: Affiliation, Power/Achievement, Personal Growth, Altruism, Stress Avoidance, Sensation-Seeking<br />Compiled 45 “commitment” items from goals, values, & personal projects literature<br /><ul><li>Hierarchical cluster analyses and factor analyses of goal desire ratings </li></ul>(Wicker, Lambert, Richardson, & Kahler, 1984)<br />Clusters: Individual Striving vs. Harmony Seeking<br />Factors: Interpersonal Concern, Competitive Ambition, Exploration-play, Balanced Success, Economic Status, Intellectual Orientation<br />Chose 46 goals from a rationally generated list of 200 <br />Added 10 more from students’ free-response lists of goals and independent informants’ rationally generated lists<br />
    6. 6. Personal Action Constructs (PACs)<br />A general term for intentions to act (Little, 1999)<br />Personal projects (McGregor & Little, 1998)<br />Life tasks (Zirkel & Cantor, 1990)<br />Personal strivings (Emmons, 1986, 1999)<br />Current concerns (Klinger, 1977; Ruehlman, 1985) <br />Core goals (Ford, 1992)<br />Personal goals (Kaiser & Ozer, 1997)<br />Volunteered in a free-response format using participants’ own words<br />Aggregated and boiled down to frequently volunteered goals<br />Organized by common themes into a hierarchical taxonomy<br />Taxonomy features 8 major categories, each with subcategories<br />1. Academic / Occupational 2. Social Relationships<br />3. Financial 4. Health<br />5. Organization 6. Affect Control<br />7. Independence 8. Moral / Religious<br />
    7. 7. The Personal Goals Questionnaire<br />Includes most goals from our taxonomy<br />Sixty-five that could be generally, coherently phrased<br />E.g., “Do well in school,” “Help my romantic partner,” “Save money,” etc.<br />Distinct as the most empirically generated goal list<br />Asks to rate current importance from 1 (“Not one of my goals currently”) to 5 (“Among my most important goals currently”)<br />Introduces new opportunities to analyze goals<br />Compare importance of all of students’ normative goals across individuals<br />Empirically categorize goals through factor analysis<br />Study conflict and tradeoffs in goal prioritization<br />Create scales for latent goal groups and tradeoffs<br />Correlate to other variables of interest<br />
    8. 8. Sample<br />N = 800<br />Young adults<br />Mean = 19.2 years ; standard deviation = 2.1 years<br />Age range: 17 – 46<br />Gender-balanced (61% female)<br />Ethnically diverse & representative of UCR population<br />49% Asian American<br />24% Hispanic / Latino<br />17% Caucasian<br />6% African American<br />5% other / mixed ethnicity<br />UCR undergraduates<br />57% freshmen<br />26% sophomores<br />12% juniors<br />5% seniors<br />
    9. 9. Ceiling effect<br />Too many goals were rated “Among my most important currently”<br />Ninety-five participants said this of over half the goals!<br />Twelvepercent of the sample<br />These participants’ data were excluded from analyses<br />Possibly an effect of fatigue<br />PGQ was always administeredafter numerous other questionnaires in these studies<br />Correlations with average importance rating:<br />Neuroticism (r = .21, p &lt; .0001)<br />Age (r = -.09, p =.015)<br />
    10. 10. Top 10 most important goals<br />
    11. 11. Top 10 most EXTREME sex differences<br />Note. Overall N = 639. All correlation estimates are significant: p &lt; .0001<br />
    12. 12. Principal axis factor analysis of goals<br />N = 647 due to missing data (deleted listwise)<br />Four itemswith communalities below .25 were removed<br />“End a romantic relationship”<br />“Control my temper”<br />“Manage a chronic/specific health problem”<br />“Reduce consumption of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco”<br />Among the 12 least important goals<br />No consistent relationship with other 61 goals<br />Scree test suggested 6 factors<br />After oblimin rotation, 7 were retained to improve interpretability and simplicity of structure<br />Less problematic to over-factor than under-factor<br />
    13. 13. Seven oblimin-rotated goal factors<br />Self-enablement (10 goals)<br />Desire to overcome disabling feelings and more freely self-direct behavior<br />Academic achievement (9 goals)<br />Oriented toward academic and career outcomes<br />Spirituality (3 goals)<br />Largely religious in nature<br />Social participation (8 goals)<br />Seek active involvement and improved standing with one’s peers and community<br />Finances (6 goals)<br />Address present monetaryconcerns<br />Physical health (4 goals)<br />Aim to improve physicalwell-being and appearance<br />Family-building (4 goals)<br />Focus on progressing in romantic relationships and building a family<br />
    14. 14. Self-Enablement<br />
    15. 15. Academic Achievement<br />
    16. 16. Spirituality<br />
    17. 17. Social Participation<br />
    18. 18. Finances<br />
    19. 19. Physical Health<br />
    20. 20. Family-Building<br />
    21. 21. Standardization & parceling<br />Importance ratings were standardized within each participant<br />Forced bipolarloadings on components<br />No clear solution identified<br />Ambiguous number of uninterpretable components<br />Goals were parceled to reduce the number of items to be factored and accentuate their heterogeneity <br />Formed from the theoretical organization of the taxonomy<br />Twenty parcels of onetoeight content-similar items each<br />Standardizedratings of all goals were averaged for parcel scores<br />
    22. 22. 5 most and least important parcels<br /> Note. Reliability =Spearman-Brown formula for standardized item alpha. N = 691<br />
    23. 23. Principal axis factor analysis of parcels<br />N = 690<br />Twenty parcels of 1 – 8 goals each<br />All goals except “End a romantic relationship”<br />Each factor contained parcels with strong positive and negative loadings<br />Rating one set of parcels as highly important often meant rating an opposing set as unimportant<br />Indicates dimensions of goal tradeoffs or conflict<br />Scree test suggested 3 factors<br />Oblimin rotation<br />Spirituality versus Finances (3 parcels vs. 1)<br />Intimacy versus Self-Enablement (3 vs. 2 parcels)<br />Achievement versus Enjoyment (2 vs. 2 parcels)<br />
    24. 24. Spirituality versus Finances<br />
    25. 25. Intimacy versus Self-Enablement<br />
    26. 26. Achievement versus Enjoyment<br />
    27. 27. Interpreting bipolar factors<br />Suggests conflict or tradeoffs in priorities may be essentialaspects of the structure of motives<br />All goals draw from the same pool of resources<br />Inconclusive as to why these tradeoffs occur<br />Do the poles reflect preferences and personal values?<br />Materialism vs. Spiritualism, Dependability vs. Independence, & Diligence vs. Enjoyment?<br />Do the poles represent goals concerning more urgent problems or unmet needs?<br />Communion vs. Poverty, Dependents’ Needs vs. Emotional Stabilization, Work Harder vs. Play Harder?<br />
    28. 28. General limitations<br />Only current, explicit goals assessed<br />No commonlymet or implicit needs<br />Underemphasized future goals?<br />The usual limitations of self-report questionnaires<br />Ambiguity of scale points & scores<br />Confounds: self-serving bias, social desirability, etc.<br />Cross-sectional UCR conveniencesample<br />Lacks diversity across age, cohort, occupation, educational level, geographic region, and language<br />
    29. 29. Future directions<br />Need to extend theory and test for comprehensiveness<br />17 goals and 8 parcels need factorial homes<br />Need more diverse samples to test for demographic differences<br />Need a longitudinal design to identify individual developmental trajectories<br />Will test replicabilityof all results in archived, current, and future data<br />Will query participants’ religious denomination, income, & romantic status<br />Will test relationships with free-response goal lists & ratings, goal conflict, and external variables<br />Personality, spirituality, presence & search for meaning & religiousness, life satisfaction, values<br />
    30. 30. Correlations with the Big Five<br /> Note. N = 691<br />
    31. 31. Thank you!<br />Dan Ozer<br />Sonja Lyubomirsky & Robin DiMatteo<br />Tierra Stimson<br />Ryan Howell, Jacob Hershey, Patrick Markey, Michael Cassens<br />Many cohorts of research assistants<br />Friends and family<br />And last but not least…<br />My gracious audience<br />
    32. 32. 10 most important goals: 1966 vs. Now<br /> Note. Richards’ scale is 1-4, N = 12,432; our scale is 1-5, N = 689-693<br />
    33. 33. Top 10 largest sex differences of 1966<br />Note. Goals were rated on a scale from 1 – 4. Overall N = 12,432 (Richards, 1966)<br />
    34. 34. Top 10 largest sex differences of today<br />Note. Overall N = 639. All correlation estimates are significant: p &lt; .0001<br />

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