Personal Projects, Happiness, and Meaning: On Doing Well and Being Yourself
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , Volume 74 - Issue 2 p. 494- 512
Personal Projects Analysis (B. R. Little, 1983) was adapted to examine relations between participants' appraisals of their goal characteristics and orthogonal happiness and meaning factors that emerged from factor analyses of diverse well-being measures. In two studies with 146 and 179 university students, goal efficacy was associated with happiness and goal integrity was associated with meaning. A new technique for classifying participants according to emergent identity themes is introduced. In both studies, identity-compensatory predictors of happiness were apparent. Agentic participants were happiest if their goals were supported by others, communal participants were happiest if their goals were fun, and hedonistic participants were happiest if their goals were being accomplished. The distinction between happiness and meaning is emphasized, and the tension between efficacy and integrity is discussed. Developmental implications are discussed with reference to results from archival data from a sample of senior managers.