The American dream in Russia: Extrinsic aspirations and well-being in two cultures

Richard M. Ryan, Valery I. Chirkov, Todd D. Little, Kennon M. Sheldon, Elena Timoshina, Edward L. Deci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Scopus citations


Recent research in the United States suggests that individuals who strongly value extrinsic goals (e.g., fame, wealth, image) relative to intrinsic goals (e.g., personal growth, relatedness, community) experience less well-being. This study examines such goals in university samples from two cultures - the United States and Russia. Participants (N = 299) rated the importance, expectancies, and current attainment of 15 life goals, including 4 target intrinsic and 4 target extrinsic goals. Results confirmed the relevance of the intrinsic-extrinsic distinction for both samples and that stronger importance and expectancies regarding extrinsic goals were negatively related to well-being, although these effects were weaker for Russian women. Furthermore, for both men and women, perceived attainment of intrinsic goals was associated with greater well-being, whereas this was not the case for perceived attainment of extrinsic goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1509-1524
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999


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