We conducted a person-centered analysis of the Aspiration Index to identify subgroups that differ in the levels of their specific (wealth, fame and image, personal growth, relationships, community giving, and health) and global intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations. In a Hungarian (N = 3,370; 77% female; age: M = 23.57), an Australian (N = 1,632; 51% female; age: M = 16.6), and an American sample (N = 6,063; 82.2% female; age: M = 21.86), we conducted separate bifactor exploratory structural equation models to disentangle the level of higher-order intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations from the shape of specific aspirations by using the resultant factor scores as indicators in latent profile analyses. The analyses yielded 3 replicable latent profiles: Disengaged from relationships and health (Profile 1); Aspiring for interpersonal relationships more than community relationships (Profile 2); and Aspiring for community relationships more than interpersonal relationships (Profile 3), with Profile 3 reliably experiencing the highest well-being. To demonstrate the incremental value of our approach to more traditional variable-centered methods, we used profile membership to predict well-being while controlling for the aspirations that comprise the profiles. Even in these conservative tests, profile membership explained additional variance in well-being. However, the real-life significance of the size of the incremental value appeared quite small. These studies make a unique contribution to the literature by identifying replicable latent profiles of aspiring, membership to which uniquely predicted well-being, over and above the constituent variables.
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- latent profile analysis
- person-centered analysis