The present study investigated the benefits of matching personality traits with goal type (i.e., agentic or communal) for goal progress. Autonomous motivation was examined as a mediator.
A multi‐wave prospective longitudinal design was employed to track the progress that 935 university students made in their personal goal pursuits over an academic year. Participants set three personal goals at baseline and completed measures of personality and goal motivation. Participants’ goals were coded as being either agentic or communal. Goal progress was assessed midyear (T2) and at the end of the academic year (T3). Goal motivation was reassessed midyear (T2).
Conscientiousness was significantly related to making better progress on agentic, but not communal, goals. Conversely, extraversion was related to making communal, but not agentic, goal progress. These trait‐goal matching effects on progress were partially mediated by goal‐specific motivation, suggesting that the selection of goals that matched one’s traits resulted in higher autonomous motivation at the start of the academic year.
The selection of trait concordant personal goals is associated with autonomous goal motivation and greater goal progress. This research integrates Self‐Determination Theory with trait theories of personality to enhance our understanding of variations in goal success.
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