Identity processes and intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuits: Directionality of effects in college students
Identity research has mainly focused on the degree to which adolescents and emerging adults engage in exploration and commitment to identity goals and strivings. Somewhat lacking from this research tradition is an explicit focus on the content of the identity goals that individuals deem important and pursue. The present manuscript describes two longitudinal studies sampling college students in which we examine how exploration and commitment processes relate to intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuits as defined in Self-Determination Theory. Study 1 was a two-wave longitudinal study spanning 6 months (N = 370; 77.4% women; mean age 18.24 years); Study 2 was a three-wave longitudinal study spanning 6 months (N = 458 students; 84.9% women; mean age 18.25 years). Using cross-lagged path analyses, hypotheses were supported to various degrees of convergence between studies, pointing to the extent of which results were replicated across our two independent longitudinal samples. Whereas an intrinsic goal orientation positively predicted commitment making (Study 1) and identification with commitment over time (Studies 1 and 2), an extrinsic goal orientation positively predicted ruminative exploration over time, which led to decreases in intrinsic orientation over time (Study 2). Further, an intrinsic goal orientation negatively predicted ruminative exploration over time (Study 1). The findings in for pro-active exploration processes were inconsistent across both studies, being prospectively related to both intrinsic (Study 2) and extrinsic goal orientations (Study 1). Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Luyckx, K., Duriez, B., Green, L. M., Negru-Subtirica, O. (2017). Identity processes and intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuits: Directionality of effects in college students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46, 1758-1771.