Life goals or aspirations can be distinguished as intrinsic or extrinsic, with different implications for well-being. In this study we used network analysis to reexamine this intrinsic-extrinsic distinction, illustrating how novel candidate aspirations can be mapped along this dimension using innovative methods. We identify four previously unexamined life aspirations, predicting that aspiring for power and social adherence would group with extrinsic goals, whereas aspiring for self-expression and mastery would group with intrinsic goals. In two samples (n = 196; n = 346) we analyze both the original life-goal variables and these novel aspirations using factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, circumplex modeling, and a network analysis using a graphical least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (glasso) to estimate the network structure of aspirations using EBIC. Replicating past intrinsic-extrinsic distinctions, all four methods further classified power and social adherence as extrinsic goals, and self-expression and mastery as intrinsic goals. The intrinsic-extrinsic distinction was also clearly visible in the network analysis. Finally, consistent with hypotheses, power and social adherence were unrelated to wellness indicators, whereas self-expression and mastery correlated positively with well-being indicators and negatively with ill-being indicators, supporting their hypothesized nature as extrinsic and intrinsic, respectively.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2019 Martela, Bradshaw and Ryan.
- goal content theory
- intrinsic goals
- life aspirations
- self-determination theory