Short-term effects of goal-setting focusing on the life goal concept on subjective well-being and treatment engagement in subacute inpatients: a quasi-randomized controlled trial

Clin Rehabil. 2016 Sep;30(9):909-20. doi: 10.1177/0269215515622671.


Objective: To investigate the short-term effects of the life goal concept on subjective well-being and treatment engagement, and to determine the sample size required for a larger trial.

Design: A quasi-randomized controlled trial that was not blinded.

Setting: A subacute rehabilitation ward.

Subjects: A total of 66 patients were randomized to a goal-setting intervention group with the life goal concept (Life Goal), a standard rehabilitation group with no goal-setting intervention (Control 1), or a goal-setting intervention group without the life goal concept (Control 2).

Interventions: The goal-setting intervention in the Life Goal and Control 2 was Goal Attainment Scaling. The Life Goal patients were assessed in terms of their life goals, and the hierarchy of goals was explained. The intervention duration was four weeks.

Main measures: Patients were assessed pre- and post-intervention. The outcome measures were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, 12-item General Health Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Rehabilitation Participation Scale, and Functional Independence Measure.

Results: Of the 296 potential participants, 66 were enrolled; Life Goal (n = 22), Control 1 (n = 22) and Control 2 (n = 22). Anxiety was significantly lower in the Life Goal (4.1 ±3.0) than in Control 1 (6.7 ±3.4), but treatment engagement was significantly higher in the Life Goal (5.3 ±0.4) compared with both the Control 1 (4.8 ±0.6) and Control 2 (4.9 ±0.5).

Conclusions: The life goal concept had a short-term effect on treatment engagement. A sample of 31 patients per group would be required for a fully powered clinical trial.

Keywords: Goal-setting; engagement; life goal; well-being.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Goals
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation*