This research examined the rank-order and mean-level consistency of personal goals at two periods in the adult life span. Personal goal continuity was considered among a group of young adults (N = 145) who reported their goals three times over a 3-year period and among a group of midlife adults (N = 163) who specified their goals annually over a 4-year period. Goals were coded for a series of motive-based (viz., achievement, affiliation, intimacy, power) and domain-based (viz., finance, generativity, health, travel) categories. In both samples, we noted a moderate degree of rank-order consistency across assessment periods. In addition, the majority of goal categories exhibited a high degree of mean-level consistency. The results of this research suggest that (a) the content of goals exhibits a modest degree of rank-order consistency and a substantial degree of mean-level consistency over time, and (b) considering personality continuity and development as manifest via goals represents a viable strategy for personality psychologists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology