Goals, Virtues & Well-Being

Project: Goal Satisfaction, Virtue, and Well-Being

Project Dates: 2007-2013

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah Schnitker

Student Researchers: Amber Blews and Jessica Foss


Does goal satisfaction increase goal achievement? What factors increase the relation between goal sanctification and goal achievement? This project examined the dynamics of goal pursuit across time as well as the well-being effects of goal content in diverse contexts. A major focus of this project was utilizing cutting-edge statistical methodologies (e.g., Multi-level SEM) to examine personality dynamics.

Part 1: The Effects of Goal Sanctification on Goal Achievement

Two hypotheses were tested in this study:

  1. The first hypothesis is that goal sanctification will increase goal achievement.
  2. The second is that potential mediators (e.g. meaning, effort, and patience) will increase the relation between goal sanctification and goal achievement.

The original data was collected via online surveys five times during a ten-week academic quarter. Participants were given course credit for completing surveys. Participants include 259 UC Davis undergraduates comprised of 179 females, 58 males, and 11 gender unknown subjects. Other socio-economic and ethnicity data were not collected. The original study assumed subject pool to match UC Davis’s general student demographic of approximately 40-45% Asian American, 40-45% Caucasian, 8-12% Hispanic, and 2-12% Other Minority.

Part 2: Spiritual Strivings, Patience, and Well-being in a Religious Adolescent Sample

This study sought to explore the relationship between character virtues, sanctification of personal strivings, and well-being in a religious sample of adolescents. To further illuminate the relation between these variables, three hypotheses were examined:

  1. First, sanctification of personal strivings was hypothesized to be associated with increased patience and well-being.
  2. Second, this association was proposed to be moderated by religiosity such that individuals with high sanctification and high religiosity will exhibit the greatest patience.
  3. Finally, spirituality was explored as a potential moderator for the relationship between sanctified strivings and patience.

Data was collected using an adolescent sample from a Christian youth organization called Young Life. Participants were recruited by Young Life leaders and given the option to participate in the study upon registering for a Young Life Trip to Bulgaria. They were then asked to complete the first set of questionnaires (T1). Participants completed follow-up questionnaires immediately following the trip (T2) and 9-18 months after the trip (T3). Data were gathered from participants over two years (2007-2008) from a variety of regions including the USA, England, Germany, France, Portugal, Belgium, and Norway. Responses were obtained from 140 participants, 14-19 years of age, in grades 8-12. Of the 140 participants, 62 were male, 75 were female, and 3 did not specify their gender. Participants were predominately Caucasian (83.6%) with approximately 2% Hispanic, 2% African/African American, 1% Asian/Asian American, and 4% Other represented.

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