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The primary aim of this study was to examine how motives and commitment to social values influence well-being in men and women of different ages. College students and older adults in the community reported on their motivational orientation (intrinsic vs. extrinsic), behavioral commitment to idiographic social values, and their current well-being (satisfaction with life, positive and negative affect). We tested a series of path models with motivational orientation mediating the relationship between commitment to values and well-being. Consistent with self-determination theory, we found that behavioral commitment to intrinsically motivating social values was related to greater life satisfaction and positive affect, whereas being committed to extrinsically motivating values was related to greater negative affect. While age and gender did not moderate these relationships, meaningful age and gender differences emerged across value-based motivations, commitment, and indices of well-being. This work adds to our understanding of how values are a guiding influence for successful navigation of one’s social world. KeywordsValues-Intrinsic motivation-Self-determination-Happiness-Life satisfaction-Positive emotion-Negative emotion
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ORIGINAL PAPER
Motivation for and commitment to social values:
The roles of age and gender
Patty Ferssizidis
Leah M. Adams
Todd B. Kashdan
Christine Plummer
Anjali Mishra
Joseph Ciarrochi
Published online: 17 September 2010
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010
Abstract The primary aim of this study was to examine
how motives and commitment to social values influence
well-being in men and women of different ages. College
students and older adults in the community reported on their
motivational orientation (intrinsic vs. extrinsic), behavioral
commitment to idiographic social values, and their current
well-being (satisfaction with life, positive and negative
affect). We tested a series of path models with motivational
orientation mediating the relationship between commitment
to values and well-being. Consistent with self-determina-
tion theory, we found that behavioral commitment to
intrinsically motivating social values was related to greater
life satisfaction and positive affect, whereas being com-
mitted to extrinsically motivating values was related to
greater negative affect. While age and gender did not
moderate these relationships, meaningful age and gender
differences emerged across value-based motivations, com-
mitment, and indices of well-being. This work adds to our
understanding of how values are a guiding influence for
successful navigation of one’s social world.
Keywords Values Intrinsic motivation
Self-determination Happiness Life satisfaction
Positive emotion Negative emotion
Social relationships are fundamental to human development
and well-being (Reis et al. 2000). The only characteristic
that distinguishes very happy people from people of average
happiness is that very happy people possess more satisfying,
lasting relationships (Diener and Seligman 2002). Thus,
how people are motivated and committed to their values
about relationships, or social values, should be relevant to
well-being (Schwartz and Bilsky 1987). Despite an exten-
sive literature on the relationships between value-based
motivation and well-being, few studies have looked at these
relationships in the context of meaningful individual dif-
ferences such as age and gender. Therefore, we sought to
understand motives for and commitment to social values
and how these elements are associated with well-being
across age and gender. To our knowledge, this is also the
first study to examine motivation orientation and commit-
ment in the context of personally-endorsed social values.
Values serve as guiding life principles—influencing our
daily decision-making and providing a basis from which
we devise meaningful goals. There is reason to believe that
strong social values are most relevant to well-being when
people are behaviorally committed and intrinsically moti-
vated. People who are behaviorally committed to deeply-
held personal values are more likely to develop goals
P. Ferssizidis L. M. Adams T. B. Kashdan (&) C. Plummer
Department of Psychology, George Mason University,
MS 3F5, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
e-mail: tkashdan@gmu.edu
URL: http://mason.gmu.edu/*tkashdan
P. Ferssizidis
e-mail: pzorbas@gmu.edu
L. M. Adams
e-mail: ladamse@gmu.edu
C. Plummer
e-mail: plummer.christine@gmail.com
A. Mishra
Department of Psychology, University of California,
Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
e-mail: amishra@ucdavis.edu
J. Ciarrochi
School of Psychology, University of Wollongong,
Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
e-mail: joec@uow.edu.au
123
Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362
DOI 10.1007/s11031-010-9187-4
congruent with these values and to experience fulfillment
(Sheldon and Elliot 1998, 1999). Thus, commitment to
social values should be directly relevant to well-being¯with
people who are most committed to their values reaping the
greatest psychological benefits.
Similarly, maintaining intrinsically motivating values
increases the probability of creating self-concordant goals
and the benefits linked to them; extrinsic motivation often
hinders potentially desirable outcomes. This is because
people with an intrinsic motivation adopt values and commit
to goals and behaviors that are inherently satisfying (Deci
1975). People who are extrinsically motivated, in contrast,
are guided by pressures from the outside world (e.g., parent
preferences, financial rewards) or internally (e.g., guilt,
prestige). When our goals are intrinsically motivating, we
extract greater well-being on a daily basis (Deci and Ryan
2000; Sheldon and Elliot 1998, 1999). Being guided by goals
that are extrinsically motivated, or the result of someone
else’s aspirations, compromises well-being (e.g., Kasser and
Ryan 2001). To extend this line of research, we examined
how commitment and motives for personally-endorsed
values about relationships influences well-being.
Much of the existing work on behavioral commitment,
motivational orientations, and associations with well-being
has ignored potentially heterogeneity. There is strong
reason to believe that men and women of different ages
approach social values differently (Fredrickson and
Carstensen 1990; Schwartz and Rubel 2005). Intuitively,
one might expect older people to become less happy with
time, as they experience declining cognitive functioning
and physical agility. Instead, research shows that older
people often report more positive emotions than younger
people (e.g., Carstensen and Mikels 2005; Lockenhoff and
Carstensen 2004). Older people perceive their time as
being limited and based on past experience, intentionally
invest their finite resources into goals that are likely to
provide maximum enjoyment (Carstensen et al. 1999). As a
result, older people tend to report a greater sense of
meaning in their lives whereas younger adults invest more
time into pursuits to find meaning¯a journey often linked to
an abundance of negative thoughts and emotions (Erikson
1968; Pulkkinen and Kokko 2000; Steger et al. 2008,
2009). For instance, creating and attempting to sustain new
relationships is a challenging endeavor (e.g., Eastwick and
Finkel 2008). On average, older adults have passed this
phase, cementing long-standing satisfying relationships
while disbanding toxic relationships.
Unless time boundaries are readily apparent, younger
people tend to view time as expansive and invest their time
in acquiring knowledge, meeting new people, and prepar-
ing for the future. When time boundaries are imposed, such
as when college students are in their last year before
entering the real-world, younger and older people show a
similar preference for familiar people¯reliable sources of
pleasurable, meaningful communication (Fredrickson and
Carstensen 1990). Taken together, this research suggests
that older people may be more committed to intrinsically
motivating social values. Because older people generally
show a greater preference for spending time with people
who are familiar to them, commitment to social values may
offer a particularly salient contribution to their well-being.
Conversely, it is expected that younger adults will pursue
both intrinsically and extrinsically-motivating social val-
ues, experiencing benefits in well-being only when these
pursuits are intrinsically motivating and they are behav-
iorally committed to them.
Gender is another individual difference variable theo-
retically relevant to understanding motivation for and
commitment to social values. There is evidence that
women, compared to men, have a greater need for affiliation
and are more willing to openly express emotions and self-
disclose, increasing opportunities for positive moral emo-
tions and strong social bonds (Kashdan et al. 2009;Reis
1998; Taylor et al. 2000). Women are also more likely than
men to strive toward interpersonally-based goals (Greene
and DeBacker 2004; Helgeson
1994). There is one study to
suggest these gender differences extend to value priorities.
Across 70 countries, women have shown a preference for
intimacy, compassion, and nurturance of other people
whereas men prioritize values linked to power, novelty
seeking, hedonism, and achievement (Schwartz and Rubel
2005). While informative, this study focused exclusively on
surface content by asking men and women to rate the
importance of having a given social or non-social value as a
guiding principle in their life. The present study extends this
work by examining gender-based differences in motivation
and commitment to personally-endorsed social values, and
assessing how these processes influence well-being. In line
with prior theory, we expected that women would be more
intrinsically motivated and committed to social values and
experience the associated rewards with these pursuits. In
contrast, we anticipated that men would report greater
commitment to extrinsically-motivating social values and
experience compromised well-being.
In this study, well-being was measured with the most
commonly used indicators: life satisfaction and a greater
abundance of positive compared with negative emotions
(Ryan and Deci 2001). Researchers consistently show that
life satisfaction and affect ratings correlate in expected
ways with biological markers of positive thoughts, feelings,
and reward seeking (e.g., dopaminergic circuits and opi-
ates), relevant behavior such as smiles and laughter, and
the generation of and responsiveness to positive life events
(Diener et al. 1999; Lyubomirsky et al. 2005). Besides
being a marker of well-being, positive emotions create
well-being. In particular, the experience of positive
Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362 355
123
emotions speeds recovery from negative events, increases
resilience, broadens executive functioning capacities such
as attention and stamina, leads to greater openness and
creativity, and attracts other people in the creation of sat-
isfying social interactions and relationships (Fredrickson
1998; Isen 2002).
In summary, the extant research suggests being com-
mitted to intrinsically-motivating goals contributes posi-
tively to well-being. We extend this work by exploring how
motivation for and commitment to idiographic social val-
ues are relevant to well-being in men and women at various
life stages. We hypothesized a moderated mediation model
whereby behavioral commitment to social values influ-
ences well-being via one’s motivation toward those values,
with age and gender as potential moderators in these
relationships. Intrinsic motivation and commitment to
social values were expected to be associated with greater
well-being. Being intrinsically motivated to work toward
these values by devoting effort to create observable goals
and engage in concrete actions to make progress implies a
promotion-focus. This includes a concern with accom-
plishment and the fulfillment of hopes and aspirations,
approach behavior as a strategy, and sensitivity to the
presence or absence of positive outcomes (Higgins 1997).
Thus, of the dimensions of well-being under study, positive
affect and life satisfaction were proposed to be most rele-
vant; negative affect is of greater relevance to concerns
about security and the avoidance of failure, and being
motivated by extrinsic concerns about what should or
ought to be done (Higgins 2006).
Based on their ongoing identity formation and search for
meaning, we expected that younger adults would display
greater intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as well as com-
mitment toward social values compared with older adults,
resulting in greater well-being when committed to intrinsi-
cally motivating social values. In contrast, older adults,
showing stronger interest in the stable and familiar, were
expected to display greater intrinsic motivation and com-
mitment toward social relationships than younger adults. In
regards to gender, we hypothesized women would be more
intrinsically motivated and behaviorally committed to social
values, an approach we expect will contribute to greater
positive affect and life satisfaction. We expected men to
show a greater extrinsic motivation for pursuing social
values and experience fewer benefits in terms of well-being.
Method
Participants
Participants were 200 college students (143 women and 57
men) ranging in age from 18 to 25 years (M = 19.66,
SD = 1.69). The majority of the sample was Cauca-
sian (55.3%) with the rest defining themselves as Asian/
Asian-American (18.6%), African-American (9.0%), His-
panic/Hispanic-American (7.5%), Middle-Eastern (5.0%),
Mixed or Other (3.0%), and 1.5% provided no response.
College students received course credit for participation.
We also recruited 77 older adults (47 women, 29 men,
and 1 did not report gender) from the Osher Lifelong
Learning Institute (OLLI) at George Mason University.
The OLLI is a non-profit organization focused on the
continuing education of retired older adults. Interested
participants were reached through advertisements in the
OLLI office and e-newsletter. Participants ranged in age
from 59 to 85 (M = 69.58, SD = 6.39) and the majority
were Caucasian (98.7%). Volunteers did not receive
compensation.
Measures
Both samples received identical paper-and-pencil surveys
that included the measures described for this study. To
capture demographic information, we asked questions on
age, gender, romantic relationship status, socio-economic
status, and race/ethnicity.
Social values
The Social Values Survey (SVS) (Blackledge et al. 2007;
Ciarrochi et al. 2006) contains 27 items assessing intrinsic
motivation (a = 0.80), extrinsic motivation (a = 0.86),
and level of commitment (a = 0.76) to personal values in
the context of friendships, family, and romantic relation-
ships. Prior to completing questions about motivation and
commitment, participants were provided with an open-
ended format to generate their fundamental values at the
foundation of relationships, conducted separately for
friends, family, and romance (extending work on personal
strivings; Emmons 1986; Little 1983). For instance, they
were given an instruction page for friendships that stated:
Think about what it means to you to be a good friend,
and about ways you like your friends to treat you. If
you were able to be the best friend possible, how
would you behave toward your friends? Describe the
qualities you would want to have in your friendships.
Examples:
Building fun, supportive friendships.
Building loyal, honest, considerate, caring, and/or
accepting friendships.
After these instructions, they were given space to
complete the following sentence stem: ‘In regards to
friendships, I value:’ After writing in their idiographic
value, participants completed additional items to assess
356 Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362
123
intrinsic motivation (4 items; e.g., ‘I value this because
doing these things makes my life better, more meaningful,
and/or more vital’’), extrinsic motivation (2 items; e.g., ‘I
value this because I would feel ashamed, guilty, or anxious
if I didn’t’’), and behavioral commitment to one’s values
(2 items; e.g., ‘I am committed to living this value and
acting consistently with this value’’) for each relationship
type. Participants were asked how true each statement is
for them and responses are rated on a 5-point Likert scale
from 1 (not at all for this reason) to 5 (entirely for this
reason). Higher scores reflect greater intrinsic motivation,
extrinsic motivation, and commitment, respectively. Pre-
liminary analyses suggested a single factor for each moti-
vational orientation and commitment to values across
friendships, family, and romantic relationships. Thus we
chose to create composite scores for intrinsic motivation,
extrinsic motivation, and commitment by collapsing par-
ticipants’ ratings across the three relationship types. This
approach also allowed us to increase reliability while
reducing the number of statistical tests required (limiting
the chances of alpha inflation).
Prior evidence suggests that the SVS has criterion-
related validity. For example, people endorsing greater
intrinsic motivation for social values experience greater
positive affect, mindfulness, psychological flexibility,
social support, and less guilt. In contrast, extrinsic moti-
vation is associated with greater hostility and less psy-
chological flexibility and mindfulness (Blackledge et al.
2007; Ciarrochi et al. 2006). Research involving adults
diagnosed with cancer suggests that greater intrinsic
motivation is associated with greater well-being and less
cancer-related distress (Fisher et al. 2009).
Satisfaction with life scale (SWLS)
The SWLS (Diener et al. 1985) contains five items mea-
suring global self-appraisals of life satisfaction (e.g., ‘In
most ways my life is close to my ideal’’). Responses are
rated using a 7-point Likert scale rated from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). In this study, the alpha
coefficient was 0.87.
Trait global affect
The 20-item trait version of the Positive and Negative
Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson et al. 1988) measures
two distinct dimensions. The 10-item Positive Affect
subscale (a = 0.84) assesses activated positive emotions
(e.g., excited, interested) and the 10-item Negative
Affect subscale (a = 0.86) assesses activated negative
emotions (e.g., nervous, distressed). Participants are
asked how they generally feel using a 5-point Likert
scale where higher scores reflect greater activation of
positive and negative emotions, respectively. The
PANAS has demonstrated consistent independence
between the two affect subscales and excellent psycho-
metric properties (Watson 2000).
Results
Our study is the first to examine idiographic social values
and the motivation for and commitment to them in
younger (college students) and older adults (from the
community). Specifically, we were interested in how
value-based motivation and commitment are related to
well-being and whether age and gender influence these
relationships. Table 1 displays descriptive statistics and
the correlations between value-based motivations and
three dimensions of well-being. As expected, people who
were more intrinsically motivated and committed to social
values reported greater life satisfaction and positive
affect, and lower negative affect. Conversely, being
extrinsically motivated toward social values was related to
less commitment to social values and greater negative
affect.
Table 1 Means, standard deviations, internal consistency coefficients for, and correlations among variables
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Commitment to values
2. Intrinsic motivation 0.62
***
3. Extrinsic motivation -0.17
**
-0.13
*
4. Satisfaction with life 0.28
***
0.32
***
-0.10
5. Positive affect 0.28
***
0.29
***
0.00 0.43
***
6. Negative affect -0.12 -0.01 0.16
**
-0.32
***
-0.23
***
M 8.91 17.01 2.99 25.61 37.04 20.28
SD 0.96 1.94 1.47 6.00 5.63 6.48
a 0.76 0.80 0.86 0.87 0.85 0.86
*
p \.05;
**
p \.01;
***
p \ .001
Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362 357
123
Moderated mediation models
We tested a multiple mediation model hypothesizing that
motives for social values mediate the relationship between
commitment to values and well-being. To test this
hypothesis, we examined three path models with intrinsic
and extrinsic motivation included as potential mediators of
the relationships between commitment to values and sat-
isfaction with life, positive affect, and negative affect,
respectively. To evaluate the influences of age and gender
on the relationships that emerged in the aforementioned
models, we conducted a series of tests of group invariance,
comparing the models with paths free to vary across gender
and age to models with paths constrained to be equal across
men and women, and then across college students and older
adults.
We estimated our path models using Mplus (Muthen and
Muthen 2004). We evaluated each of the models using the
chi-square test. The chi-square (v
2
) test is a measure of
exact fit, with non-significant values indicating no dis-
crepancies between the model-reproduced covariance
matrix and the sample covariance matrix. We also evalu-
ated the Tucker-Lewis-index (TLI; Tucker and Lewis
1973), the comparative-fit-index (CFI; Bentler 1990), and
the root-mean-square-error-of-approximation (RMSEA;
Browne and Cudeck 1993). Values for TLI, and CFI above
0.90 are considered acceptable fit (Tabachnick and Fidell
1996). Values of RMSEA less than 0.05 indicate a good-
fitting model, and values larger than 0.10 indicate a poor-
fitting model. RMSEA is also accompanied by a p-value;
non-significant values imply close fit (Browne and Cudeck
1993.
Satisfaction with life
The first model assessed the roles of intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation as mediators of the relationship between com-
mitment to values and satisfaction with life (see Fig. 1).
This model fit the data well, v
2
(2) = 3.70, p = 0.16;
CFI = 0.99; TLI = 0.97; RMSEA = 0.06, p \ 0.05. As
predicted, greater commitment to one’s values was posi-
tively associated with being intrinsically motivated
(b = 0.62, p \ 0.001) and was negatively associated with
being extrinsically motivated (b =-0.17, p \ 0.01). The
relationships between commitment to values and motiva-
tion are mirrored in the subsequent models examining
positive and negative affect as outcome variables. In the
current model, intrinsic motivation was related to greater
levels of satisfaction with life (b = 0.31, p \ 0.001), while
no such relationship was found between extrinsic motiva-
tion and life satisfaction (b =-0.06, p [ 0.05). Intrinsic
motivation partially mediated the relationship between
commitment to values and satisfaction with life (b = 0.19,
p \ 0.001). Specifically, greater commitment to values
predicted greater intrinsic motivation, which in turn, pre-
dicted higher levels of life satisfaction. The indirect effect
of commitment to values on satisfaction with life via
extrinsic motivation was not significant (b = 0.01,
p [ 0.05). As indicated by their non-significant v
2
differ-
ence tests, neither gender (Dv
2
(4) = 3.73, p [ 0.05) nor
age (Dv
2
(4) = 2.29, p [ 0.05) emerged as moderators of
the relationships found in this model.
Positive affect
The second model assessed intrinsic and extrinsic moti-
vation as mediators of the relationship between commit-
ment to values and positive affect (see Fig. 2). This model
fit the data reasonably well, v
2
(2) = 5.82, p = 0.05;
CFI = 0.98; TLI = 0.93; RMSEA = 0.08, p \ 0.05.
Similar to the model including satisfaction with life as the
outcome variable, intrinsic motivation was related to
greater levels of positive affect (b = 0.30, p \ 0.001),
while no such relationship was found between extrinsic
motivation and positive affect (b = 0.04, p [ 0.05).
Intrinsic motivation partially mediated the relationship
between commitment to values and positive affect
(b = 0.18, p \ 0.001). Specifically, greater commitment to
values predicted greater intrinsic motivation, which in turn,
predicted higher levels of positive affect. The indirect
effect of commitment to values on positive affect via
extrinsic motivation was significant (b =-0.01,
Commitment
.62***
-.06
-.17**
.31***
Intrinsic
Motivation
Satisfaction
with Life
Extrinsic
Motivation
Fig. 1 Standardized path coefficients for direct effects among
commitment to values, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and
satisfaction with life.
*
p \ 0.05;
**
p \ 0.01;
***
p \ 0.001
Commitment
.62***
-.04
-.17**
.30***
Intrinsic
Motivation
Positive Affect
Extrinsic
Motivation
Fig. 2 Standardized path coefficients for direct effects among
commitment to values, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and positive
affect.
*
p \ 0.05;
**
p \ 0.01;
***
p \ 0.001
358 Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362
123
p [ 0.05). Once again, neither gender (Dv
2
(4) = 9.27,
p [ 0.05) nor age (Dv
2
(4) = 6.56, p [ 0.05) emerged as
moderators of the relationships found in this model.
Negative affect
The third model included intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
as mediators of the relationship between commitment to
values and negative affect (see Fig. 3). This model fit the
data well, v
2
(2) = 4.61, p = 0.10; CFI = 0.98; TLI =
0.95; RMSEA = 0.07, p \ 0.05. In this model, extrinsic
motivation was positively associated with negative affect
(b = 0.16, p \ 0.01), while intrinsic motivation was
unrelated to negative affect (b = 0.01, p [ 0.05). The
indirect effect of commitment to values on negative affect
via intrinsic motivation was not significant (b = 0.01,
p [ 0.05). However, the route from commitment to values
to negative affect via extrinsic motivation was significant
(b =-0.03, p \ 0.05). People less committed to social
values reported greater extrinsic motivation for these val-
ues and subsequently, experienced more negative affect.
Neither gender (Dv
2
(4) = 3.39, p [ 0.05) nor age
(Dv
2
(4) = 3.59, p [ 0.05) emerged as moderators of the
relationships found in this model.
Age and gender related considerations
While age and gender did not moderate relationships
between motivation orientation, commitment to values, and
well-being, we wanted to evaluate the presence of age and
gender differences in value-based motivations, commit-
ment, and indices of well-being. To test whether value-
based motivations and commitment differed between our
student and older adult samples and between men and
women, we conducted two multivariate regression mod-
els—one model with value-based motivation and commit-
ment as outcomes and a second model with indices of
well-being as outcomes. These regression models account
for the covariance between the outcome variables, as well
as between the predictors. The beta coefficients provided
for these two models show the magnitude of change in the
outcome variable (in standard deviations) when the level of
the predictor changes (college student to older adult, male
to female).
We found theoretically relevant differences between
college students and older adults in their intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation for and commitment to social values
(see Table 2). College students reported greater intrinsic
motivation for values (b =-0.17, p \ 0.01), but also
greater extrinsic motivation for values (b =-0.16, p \
0.05), compared to older adults. As for goal-related efforts,
age group was not predictive of commitment to values
(b =-0.08, p [ 0.05). Women reported greater intrinsic
motivation (b = 0.19, p \ 0.01), while men endorsed
greater extrinsic motivation (b =-0.27, p \ 0.001).
Commitment to social values also differed by gender with
women reporting greater commitment than men (b = 0.13,
p \ 0.05).
We hypothesized that motivation and behavioral com-
mitment would be relevant to greater well-being. Thus, we
examined how age group and gender influenced well-being
Commitment
.62***
.16**
-.17**
.01
Intrinsic
Motivation
Negative
Affect
Extrinsic
Motivation
Fig. 3 Standardized path coefficients for direct effects among
commitment to values, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and
negative affect.
*
p \ 0.05;
**
p \ 0.01;
***
p \ 0.001
Table 2 Multivariate regression model statistics of age and gender
predicting value-based motivation and commitment
Outcome Effects BZ-ratio p-value
Intrinsic motivation Intercept -0.15 -2.14 0.03
Age -0.17 -2.62 \0.01
Gender 0.19 3.00 \0.01
Extrinsic motivation Intercept 0.03 0.46 0.65
Age -0.16 -2.49 0.01
Gender -0.27 -4.53 \0.001
Commitment Intercept -0.09 -1.23 0.22
Age -0.08 -1.26 0.21
Gender 0.13 2.01 0.04
All p-values were two-tailed. Age was coded as 0 = college student
and 1 = older adult. Gender was coded as 0 = male and 1 = female
Table 3 Multivariate regression model statistics of age and gender
predicting indices of well-being
Outcome Effects BZ-ratio p-value
Life satisfaction Intercept 0.07 1.04 0.30
Age 0.19 2.86 \0.01
Gender 0.03 0.42 0.67
Positive affect Intercept 0.09 1.33 0.18
Age 0.17 2.63 \0.01
Gender -0.04 -0.66 0.51
Negative affect Intercept -0.16 -2.37 0.02
Age -0.34 -5.76 \0.001
Gender 0.01 0.19 0.85
All p-values were two-tailed. Age was coded as 0 = college student
and 1 = older adult. Gender was coded as 0 = male and 1 = female
Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362 359
123
indicators (see Table 3), as both factors were found to have
differing levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In
general, being a member of the older adult sample was
predictive of greater well-being than being in the student
sample, as older adults reported greater life satisfaction
(b = 0.19, p \ 0.01), and positive affect (b = 0.17,
p \ 0.01), and less negative affect (b =-0.34, p \
0.001). Gender was not predictive of any indicators of
well-being (ps [ 0.05).
Discussion
In this study, we explored how people’s most meaning-
ful, idiographic social values and their motives for
adopting them influence well-being and are affected by
age and gender. Our findings shed light on the impor-
tance of value-based motivation and commitment to
well-being. Intrinsic motivation and behavioral commit-
ment were positively associated with life satisfaction and
the frequency of positive emotions. Conversely, being
extrinsically motivated for social values was linked to
lower levels of commitment and a greater frequency of
negative emotions. By examining age and gender as
predictors of value-based motivation, commitment, and
well-being, we found that men and women of different
ages pursue social values and experience well-being
differently.
Our work adds to extensive theory and empirical find-
ings on self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan 2000).
Relating to prior work (Sheldon and Elliot 1998, 1999), we
found that being committed to intrinsically motivating
social values was associated with greater life satisfaction
and positive affect (but not negative affect). Conversely,
being committed to extrinsically motivated values was
related with greater negative affect and had no effect on
positive indices of well-being. This fits with work sug-
gesting the negative and positive experiences are distinct at
subjective, motivational, behavioral, and biological levels
of analysis (e.g., Carver et al. 2000).
Relations between value-based motivation and com-
mitment with positive affect suggest avenues for cultivat-
ing various elements of a fulfilling life. Being intrinsically
motivated implies adopting a social value because it is
inherently enjoyable or meaningful, providing a relatively
sustainable source of positive experiences. In addition, the
devotion of cognitive and behavioral resources to make
effort toward goals linked to these values is another source
of positive experiences (Kashdan and McKnight 2009;
McKnight and Kashdan 2009). Temporal sequencing can
be addressed with longitudinal, experimental, and experi-
ence-sampling methodologies¯determining whether benefits
linked to motivation and commitment are mediated by
positive emotions and appraisals such as life satisfaction
that effectively change the quality of relationships.
Other findings suggest that heterogeneity exists¯across
age and gender categories¯in how people approach and
commit to social values. While age and gender did not
moderate relationships between motivation and commit-
ment to social values on well-being, meaningful age and
gender differences emerged across these variables. Fitting
with the notion that younger adults are still in the process
of expanding their knowledge, experiences, and social
network (an emerging identity), college students reported
higher levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for social
values than older adults. However, this did not translate
into greater well-being; compared with college students,
older adults endorsed greater life satisfaction and positive
affect, and less negative affect. These findings fit with prior
work showing that older adults are more content with their
existing social network and behavior¯extracting more plea-
sure and meaning from the preferences sculpted over a
lifetime (Fredrickson and Carstensen 1990; Lockenhoff
and Carstensen 2004). Contrary to predictions, commit-
ment to values did not differ by age. These null results
might be a consequence of using a limited older adult
sample comprised of retired workers in continuing educa-
tion classes. Further, differences exist in the composition of
social relationships in the lives of older and younger adults.
For instance, ‘family’ for older adults often includes
spouses, children, and grandchildren whereas the family
composition of younger adults often is limited to parents
and siblings. Despite questionable generalizability, our
results converge with studies with more global community
sampling of older adults (Carstensen and Mikels 2005).
Studies with larger samples can adopt a person-centric
approach (e.g., latent class analyses) to determine the
presence of distinct subsets of older adults that can be
differentiated by values, motivations, commitment, and
well-being.
Besides age, gender has been consistently shown to be
relevant in understanding relationship processes (e.g., Reis
1998) and social values (Schwartz and Rubel 2005). The
one study on gender differences in social values (Schwartz
and Rubel 2005) showed that women were more likely to
list social values as central to their lives (e.g., benevolence,
obedience) compared with non-social values (e.g., stimu-
lation, achievement). Extending this work, we focused on
the motivation and behavioral commitment to personally
endorsed values, and found that men and women differed
in expected ways. Women endorsed greater intrinsic
motivation for and behavioral commitment to social val-
ues; men were more extrinsically motivated. However,
there were no differences between men and women in well-
being, raising questions as to the discernible benefits of
particular value-based motivations for women.
360 Motiv Emot (2010) 34:354–362
123
A key question addressed by this study is whether
motivational orientations and individual differences such
as age and gender provide insights into how human beings
successfully navigate their world with values as a guiding
influence. Prior theory and research suggest a universal
need to belong and satisfaction of this need provides the
greatest opportunities for well-being (Baumeister and
Leary 1995; Deci and Ryan 2000). Motivational orienta-
tions toward existing relationships can help explain the
presence of these opportunities. When people are intrinsi-
cally motivated to adopt their values, this indicates the
absence of pressure or coercion and that the guiding prin-
ciples of a relationship are chosen because of interest,
enjoyment, or meaning in the activity itself (Sheldon and
Elliot 1998, 1999). To the extent that a person chooses
values of how to live in a relationship for intrinsic reasons,
a path toward sustainable well-being is more readily
available (McKnight and Kashdan 2009; Wilson and
Murrell 2004).
Future research should examine the real-world benefits
of younger adults adopting greater intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation and commitment to social values. Benefits are
best captured by developmental trajectories focusing on
healthy identity formation, personal growth, and the satis-
faction of basic psychological needs. Also, research is
needed on whether there are psychological and social costs
to men’s tendencies to be less intrinsically motivated and
committed to social values compared with women. A pri-
mary benefit of this study is that findings on value-based
living offer additional questions that remain to be explored.
Compared with happiness, far too little research is devoted
to meaningful, value-based living. When everyday behav-
iors are aligned with a person’s core interests and values, a
rich, meaningful life becomes more accessible.
Acknowledgments This research was supported by National Insti-
tute of Mental Health grant MH-73937 to Todd B. Kashdan
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... In addition, commitment to values, which indicates how committed people are to living their values, is considered important (22). Behavioral commitment to values can be an intrinsic motivation and is known to have a positive relation with greater well-being (23). Research on personal values in adolescence investigating the relation with outcomes in adulthood have recently begun to be published (24). ...
... Sagiv (2000) pointed out that consistency between peoples' value priorities and their cultural values is critical for well-being (20). Adaptive choice for preferable personal values may lead to good health by improving well-being (23). The results from our study seem to be consistent with these ndings. ...
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Background: Personal values, which are formed in early life, can have an impact on health outcome later in life.Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the relation between personal values in adolescence and bio-indicators related to metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adulthood. Participants and Methods: The longitudinal data used was from the Japanese Study on Stratification, Health, Income, and Neighborhood (J-SHINE). Personal values in adolescence were retrospectively obtained in 2017 from a self-reporting questionnaire, composed of value priorities and commitment to the values. Venous samples were collected in 2012 for low and high-density lipoprotein (LDL, HDL) cholesterol and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) were also measured. The associations of each variable were examined by partial correlation analysis. In addition, multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to examine overall associations between personal values and the sum of standardized scores (Z-score) of the biomarkers as a proxy of MetS. Results: The total population (n=668) included 261 men and 407 women. For men, the personal value priority of “Having influence on society” was associated with high HDL cholesterol (partial r=0.13, p=0.032) and “Cherishing familiar people” with low waist circumference (r=-0.129, p=0.049), low SBP, and high DBP (r=-0.135, p=0.039; r=0.134, p=0.041). For women, “Not bothering others” was associated with high SBP and low DBP (r=0.125, p=0.015; r=-0.123, p=0.017). "Economically succeeding" was associated with a worse outcome (β=0.162, p=0.042). Conclusions: Although some significant associations were found between personal values in adolescence and MetS-related markers in adulthood, the overall associations were not strong. Culturally prevailing values were likely to be associated with a good outcome of metabolic health.
... The PVQ was originally adapted from an established measure of personal strivings (Emmons, 1986). The PVQ itself has been used to measure and assess values across life domains in a number of different population samples and has demonstrated acceptable test-retest reliability and internal consistency (Ciarrochi et al, , 2011Ferssizidis et al., 2010;Harrington, 2015;Mohi et al., 2018;Reilly et al., 2019). ...
... This suggests that lower levels of emotional awareness are not as important when it comes people's ability to engage more successfully with their values across valued life domains when compared to an unwillingness to tolerate difficult internal experiences, such as negative emotional states. The current finding is consistent with past research demonstrating a relationship exists between higher levels of experiential avoidance and lower levels of successful value pursuit in other population samples including both cancer patients and university students (Ciarrochi et al, , 2011Ferssizidis et al., 2010). The role that experiential avoidance serves in mitigating values engagement in this clinical sample is consistent with the understanding that people's actions are not only guided by what's important to them in the way of goals and/or values, but also by the underpinning psychological reactions to internal experiences which can strongly influence their actions (Bond et al., 2011). ...
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Previous research identifies people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) place high levels of importance on values across a variety of life domains but have significantly lower levels of values commitment, desire to improve and success at living in line with what is valued. The current study aims to identify the factors impeding people’s ability to engage more successfully with what is valued so that they can be more effectively targeted in treatment. In this study, participants were 106 consumers attending an outpatient clinic for BPD treatment. Participants completed a comprehensive assessment of values (Personal Values Questionnaire) as well as selfreport measures of experiential avoidance (Acceptance and Avoidance Questionnaire- 2), alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale) and symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21). Correlations demonstrated that depression, stress, difficulty identifying feelings and describing feelings and experiential avoidance were negatively associated with values engagement. However, regression analysis revealed that only depression and experiential avoidance significantly predicted values engagement after controlling for the other predictor variables in the model. Experiential avoidance and depressive symptomology are likely to be particularly important targets to improve successful values pursuit in individuals seeking treatment for BPD.
... In addition, commitment to values, which indicates how committed people are to living their values, is considered important [22]. Behavioral commitment to values can be an intrinsic motivation and is known to have a positive relation with greater well-being [23]. Research on personal values in adolescence investigating the relation with outcomes in adulthood have recently begun to be published [24]. ...
... Sagiv (2000) pointed out that consistency between peoples' value priorities and their cultural values is critical for well-being [20]. Adaptive choice for preferable personal values may lead to good health by improving well-being [23]. The results from our study seem to be consistent with these findings. ...
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Background Personal values, which are formed in early life, can have an impact on health outcome later in life. Objective The aim of this study is to investigate the relation between personal values in adolescence and bio-indicators related to metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adulthood. Participants and Methods The longitudinal data used was from the Japanese Study on Stratification, Health, Income, and Neighborhood (J-SHINE). Personal values in adolescence were retrospectively obtained in 2017 from a self-reporting questionnaire, composed of value priorities and commitment to the values. Venous samples were collected in 2012 for low and high-density lipoprotein (LDL, HDL) cholesterol and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) were also measured. The associations of each variable were examined by partial correlation analysis. In addition, multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to examine overall associations between personal values and the sum of standardized scores (Z-score) of the biomarkers as a proxy of MetS. Results The total population ( n = 668) included 261 men and 407 women. For men, the personal value priority of “Having influence on society” was associated with high HDL cholesterol (0.133, p = 0.032) and “Cherishing familiar people” with low waist circumference ( r = -0.129, p = 0.049), low SBP, and high DBP ( r = -0.135, p = 0.039; r = 0.134, p = 0.041). For women, “Not bothering others” was associated with high SBP and low DBP ( r = 0.125, p = 0.015; r = -0.123, p = 0.017). "Economically succeeding" was associated with a worse outcome (β = 0.162, p = 0.042) in men. Conclusions Although some significant associations were found between personal values in adolescence and MetS-related markers in adulthood, the overall associations were not strong. Culturally prevailing values were likely to be associated with a good outcome of metabolic health.
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... Values affect human actions, motivation, and objectives (Ferssizidis et al., 2010;Homer & Kahle, 1988). In other words, personal values represent what is primarily important to an individual and thus form a core part of the identity of an individual that directs their behavior (Jamaludin, Sam, Sandal & Adam, 2016). ...
... Ces résultats confortent la littérature étant donné que les enseignants motivés par la réussite des autres (valeur de dépassement de soi) et les valeurs collectives ont des niveaux de bien-être élevé (Dittmar et al., 2014). Plus encore, la poursuite de valeurs prosociales conformément à des pratiques professionnelles bienveillantes est corrélée à un plus grand bien-être (Ferssizidis et al., 2010). Ces résultats sont conformes à d'autres travaux réalisés dans d'autres contextes d'exercice (Sortheix et Schwartz, 2017 ;Schwartz et Sortheix, 2018), les valeurs de dépassement de soi et d'ouverture au changement sont des valeurs explicatives du bien-être hédonique et eudémonique au travail. ...
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... Os valores sociais são percebidos de maneira diferente por homens e mulheres de diferentes idades (Ferssizidis et al., 2010). Pessoas mais velhas tendem a declarar emoções mais positivas do que as pessoas mais jovens (Carstensen et al., 1999), por perceberem que seu tempo é limitado e por conta de experiências passadas, eles investem seus recursos finitos em metas que terão a garantia do retorno positivo e que fornecerão o máximo de alegria (Carstensen & Mikels, 2005). ...
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... Ryan & Deci (2000) added people are healthier and happier each day when their purposes are more intrinsically motivated. Ferssizidis et al., (2010) found that better life satisfaction and influence by positivity factors were related to intrinsically motivating social values, whereas negative effects related to being forced to commit to extrinsically motivating values such as do it for the monetary purpose. Similar to other entrepreneurs, seniorpeneurs are also likely to satisfy either extrinsic or intrinsic needs (Kean et al., 1993). ...
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While studies of motivational differences between managers in private and public organizations proliferate, few have compared managers’ motivation in hybrid organizations to the motivation of managers in private and public organizations. This lack of studies is surprising, as corporatization has been an important trend in the public sector over the last decades. Using a large survey covering almost 3000 managers from a representative sample of organizations in Norway, this study fills this hole by comparing how managers in hybrid organizations differ on extrinsic, intrinsic and prosocial motivation from their counterparts in public and private organizations.
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This chapter summarizes findings showing that mild positive affect facilitates thinking, problem solving, and social interaction through increased cognitive flexibility and explores a possible role for neuropsychology in understanding these effects. Several lines of research show that mild happy feelings, induced in everyday ways that people often encounter in the course of their daily lives, promote effective thinking and problem solving by enabling flexible thinking that allows the person to respond to the situation in its complex context. Studies have demonstrated that positive affect engenders motives such as kindness, helpfulness, and generosity, but also positive-affect maintenance and fairness to oneself as well as to others. Recent work is showing that one reason this occurs is because positive affect facilitates cognitive flexibility characterized by openness to useful information (even if it is negative in tone), reduced "defensiveness," and the ability to see multiple sides of the situation and switch attention among them. This ability to hold multiple ideas or facets of a situation in mind, in turn, fosters a better ability to solve complex problems, both interpersonal and nonsocial. Another result of this kind of openness to information and cognitive flexibility that is fostered by positive affect is increased enjoyment of variety in safe situations and improved ability to deal with a large, complex decision task or set of material or options. Another, however, is reduced risk taking in dangerous situations, as people-although more optimistic about winning-are also more aware of the negative utility or consequences of a loss. Most recently, research is focusing on positive affect's beneficial effect on self-control of several types, including its facilitation of flexible attention deployment that enables both broadened attention and focus on a target task. This ability is reflected in superior incidental learning and divided attention, without impaired performance on the target task. This chapter summarizes some of these findings and explores a possible role for neuropsychology in understanding these effects, arguing not for the superiority of one level of analysis (behavioral, cognitive, neuropsychological) over others, but for their integration and a search for the ways in which each can contribute to the others.
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There are pervasive sex differences in psychological and physical well-being, many of which can be linked to the differential socialization of men and women. Numerous studies have linked psychological masculinity and femininity to well-being. In the present article, this literature is explained by focusing on the specific personality traits captured by conventional measures of masculinity and femininity: agency (focus on self and forming separations) and communion (focus on others and forming connections), respectively. Both agency and communion are required for optimal well-being (D. Bakan, 1966); when one exists in the absence of the other (unmitigated communion or unmitigated agency), however, negative health outcomes occur. Research that is consistent with this idea is presented, and the processes by which unmitigated agency and unmitigated communion affect well-being are explored. These processes involve control, social support, and health behavior.
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This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.