Date of Thesis

5-10-2017

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kimberly Ann Daubman

Abstract

This research investigates the self-determination theory (SDT) and match perspective, two conflicting theories explaining the relationships among goal orientation, well-being outcomes, and the tendency to engage in risky behaviors. Past research supporting SDT has indicated that intrinsic goal orientation and autonomous regulation are essential to achieving optimal well-being outcomes and less engagement in risky behaviors. Conversely, other studies suggest that the "matching" of environmental goal orientation and personal goal orientation ensure optimal well-being outcomes and reduced engagement in risky behaviors. The present research examined goal orientation through the lens of both theories in an undergraduate sample. Following SDT, it was hypothesized that individuals who are more intrinsically goal oriented will report higher well-being outcomes and less risky drug and alcohol behaviors. The second hypothesis was based on the match perspective and hypothesized that smaller differences between perceived environmental goal orientation and personal goal orientation will be associated with better well-being outcomes and less risky drug and alcohol behaviors. Results provided limited support for SDT and no support for the match perspective. Additionally, patterns of greater perception of extrinsic environmental goal orientation despite greater reported intrinsic personal goal orientation were explored. Limitations to this study, such as unbalanced sample composition, are discussed.

Share

COinS