The present research examined the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic goal attainment on older adults' ego-integrity, psychological well-being, and death attitudes. Hypotheses were derived from Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000; Vansteenkiste, Ryan, & Deci, in press). Study 1 (N = 202, Mean age = 68.2 years) indicated that, after controlling for extrinsic goal attainment, intrinsic goal attainment contributed positively to subjective well-being and ego-integrity and negatively to despair, whereas extrinsic goal attainment was unrelated to psychological health and contributed positively to despair. Study 2 (N = 213, Mean age = 75.2 years) replicated and extended these results, showing that intrinsic goal attainment contributed to the acceptance of one's own death, lower ill-being, and less death anxiety, whereas extrinsic goal attainment was negatively associated with death acceptance. It is argued that the attainment of intrinsic goals is related to better psychological health, because intrinsic goals are more conducive to the satisfaction of basic psychological needs.
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