Personal strivings and motive dispositions: Exploring the links

R.A. Emmons, D.P. McAdams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study sought to determine the relations among personal strivings, motive dispositions, and personality needs. Subjects generated lists of their personal strivings and completed a picture story exercise similar to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the Affiliation, Achievement, Dominance, and Nurturance scales of the Personality Research Form (PRF). Personal strivings were correlated with relevant scores from both the TAT and the PRF. Scores on the TAT and PRF were also not independent. Results are interpreted using McClelland's operant-respondent distinction and McClelland, Koestner, and Weinberger's distinction between implicit and explicit motivation. Personal strivings would appear to be best regarded as thought-operant schemata in McClelland's terminology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-654
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
StatePublished - 1991


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