(How) can individuals further their own development in adaptive ways?
The present longitudinal study involved 523 university graduates from Germany from four fields of study with favorable (i.e., medicine, psychology) and unfavorable (i.e., architecture, psychology) employment prospects. Data was collected on-line 4 times every 4 months, the first time at graduation. Measures included life goals, work goals, partnership/family goals, control strategies, goal adjustment, work adaptation, and subjective and psychological well-being. Data are analyzed using latent growth curve modeling.
This study is part of Claudia's dissertation on Agency and Adaptive Development during the Transition from University to Work (Committee: Rainer K. Silbereisen, University of Jena; Jutta Heckhausen, University of California, Irvine; Peter Noack, University of Jena). In her thesis, Claudia puts forth a model drawing from the action-phase model of developmental regulation (Heckhausen, 1999): Intrinsic goals and motivational congruency promote work-related goal engagement, which in turn fosters work adaptation and well-being. The findings show that some goals are indeed more motivating than others: Whereas learning goals (e.g. "broaden my horizon"), motivate sustained goal engagement - by buffering frustration and sadness -, status goals (e.g., "high social status") do not have such a motivating effect. Importantly, these findings generalize across high- vs. low-opportunity contexts. In a more general vein, the findings elucidate the malleability of human development: Well-being is not stable as has been claimed in the literature, but changes, and can in fact be cultivated.
The dissertation is funded by the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung). Further financial support comes from the Center for Applied Developmental Science (CADS).
- Haase, C. M. (2007, August). Life goals, control striving, and positive development during the transition from college to work. In J. Heckhausen (Chair), Agency in the Transition from School to Work and College. Invited symposium conducted at the annual European Conference for Developmental Psychology, Jena, Germany.
- Haase, C. M. (2004, October). Agency in the transition from university to work. Poster presented at the first conference of the Center for Applied Developmental Science, Weimar, Germany.
- ZEIT Campus (2008, July/August). And what I do after uni?
C. M. Haase und R. K. Silbereisen