Happiness as a Motivator: Positive Affect Predicts Primary Control Striving for Career and Educational Goals

Claudia M. Haase, Michael J. Poulin, Jutta Heckhausen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1104
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • control beliefs
  • happiness
  • motivation
  • positive affect
  • primary control striving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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