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How Do Positive Interventions Work: The Role of Intrinsic Goal Pursuits in Thriving after Writing about Best Possible Selves

How Do Positive Interventions Work: The Role of Intrinsic Goal Pursuits in Thriving after Writing about Best Possible Selves

Repeatedly, randomized controlled studies demonstrated that the best possible self intervention (BPS) effectively increases well-being. However, it is unclear to date, why and how the BPS intervention works. Using self determination theory, I hypothesize that the BPS intervention increases the relative importance of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits, which, in turn, increases well-being.

I randomly assign students (n = 150) to either write about their BPS’ in ten years (TG) or their yesterday’s activities (CG) and ask them to complete the Aspirations Index and the Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving at baseline, post intervention and a two weeks follow-up. The hypothesis test is based on a latent difference score mediation model. Data collection is scheduled for May 2016.

I expect that the increase in well-being two weeks after the BPS intervention is partially explained by an increase in the reported relative importance of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits post intervention. Specifically, I expect that goals related to personal growth, relationships, community, and health are perceived as more important, whereas goals related to wealth, fame, and appeal are perceived as less important among participants in the TG compared with participants in the CG. Thus, the BPS intervention works, because participants reevaluate the importance of their current goal pursuits based on their intrinsic interests and values. Based on the expected results, I recommend extending the BPS intervention by informing participants about the different effects of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits on well-being and encourage participants to focus on intrinsic goals while writing about their BPS’.

Repeatedly, randomized controlled studies demonstrated that the best possible self intervention (BPS) effectively increases well-being. However, it is unclear to date, why and how the BPS intervention works. Using self determination theory, I hypothesize that the BPS intervention increases the relative importance of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits, which, in turn, increases well-being.

I randomly assign students (n = 150) to either write about their BPS’ in ten years (TG) or their yesterday’s activities (CG) and ask them to complete the Aspirations Index and the Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving at baseline, post intervention and a two weeks follow-up. The hypothesis test is based on a latent difference score mediation model. Data collection is scheduled for May 2016.

I expect that the increase in well-being two weeks after the BPS intervention is partially explained by an increase in the reported relative importance of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits post intervention. Specifically, I expect that goals related to personal growth, relationships, community, and health are perceived as more important, whereas goals related to wealth, fame, and appeal are perceived as less important among participants in the TG compared with participants in the CG. Thus, the BPS intervention works, because participants reevaluate the importance of their current goal pursuits based on their intrinsic interests and values. Based on the expected results, I recommend extending the BPS intervention by informing participants about the different effects of intrinsic compared with extrinsic goal pursuits on well-being and encourage participants to focus on intrinsic goals while writing about their BPS’.