Individual differences that moderate the effectiveness of relational reasons for self-improvement



Document Type


Publication Date



Two studies tested the hypotheses that relationally-autonomous reasons (RARs) for goals predict attainment, and that this relationship is stronger among highly relational and agreeable people than others. Study 1 (n = 134) assessed participants’ self-construal and Agreeableness, and their tendency to pursue subgoals for RARs, relationally-controlled reasons (RCRs), and personally-controlled reasons (PARs). One month later, they indicated the number of subgoals they had attained. RARs were positively correlated with attainment, and this relationship was stronger among highly relational and agreeable people than others. In Study 2 (n = 74), self-construal and Agreeableness were assessed then participants generated possible outcomes of 3 subgoals using a Goal Attainment Scale. They were then randomly assigned to a goal program that either emphasized RARs, RCRs, or PARs. One week later, participants indicated their level of attainment. Highly relational and agreeable people had higher levels of attainment than others in the program emphasizing RARs.