Happiness as a motivator: positive affect predicts primary control striving for career and educational goals

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2012 Aug;38(8):1093-104. doi: 10.1177/0146167212444906. Epub 2012 May 8.

Abstract

What motivates individuals to invest time and effort and overcome obstacles (i.e., strive for primary control) when pursuing important goals? We propose that positive affect predicts primary control striving for career and educational goals, and we explore the mediating role of control beliefs. In Study 1, positive affect predicted primary control striving for career goals in a two-wave longitudinal study of a U.S. sample. In Study 2, positive affect predicted primary control striving for career and educational goals and objective career outcomes in a six-wave longitudinal study of a German sample. Control beliefs partially mediated the longitudinal associations with primary control striving. Thus, when individuals experience positive affect, they become more motivated to invest time and effort, and overcome obstacles when pursuing their goals, in part because they believe they have more control over attaining their goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect*
  • Career Mobility*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Goals*
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Self Concept
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult