Office of Research, UC Riverside
Jan Stets
Professor of Sociology
Sociology
jans@ucr.edu
(951) 827-3424


Doctoral Dissertation Research: Identity and the Process of Goal Accomplishment

AWARD NUMBER
006431-002
FUND NUMBER
21201
STATUS
Closed
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
9/3/2013
BEGIN DATE
9/1/2013
END DATE
8/31/2014
AWARD AMOUNT
$11,960

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
SES-1332430
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
13080817
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Stets, Jan E
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Sociology
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
Coll of Hum, Arts & Social Sci
CO PIs

Project Information

ABSTRACT

SES-1332430
Jan Stets
Ryan Trettevik
Institution: University of California Riverside

As individuals work towards a goal, for example, being a "marathon runner," "college graduate," or "successful businessperson," they evaluate their progress toward goal accomplishment on the basis of the feedback they receive from others. If their progress toward goal accomplishment is slower than their expected rate, they should feel negative emotions, and if their progress toward goal accomplishment is faster than expected, they should feel positive emotions. In turn, these emotions should help us understand when people remain committed to their goals with positive emotions fueling commitment to goals and negative emotions curtailing commitment to goals. In this dissertation, the Co-PI tests the long-standing identity argument that the verification of one's goals generates positive feelings and the non-verification of one's goals generates negative feelings. At the same time, the Co-PI investigates the rate of verifying one's goal, that is, whether feedback as to one's performance reveals slower progress, faster progress, or progress at one's expected rate. The analysis is of college students as they go through a 10-week, undergraduate course. Students will be closely followed during the course through a series of surveys that track their self-views' on their identity as student, their goals (expected grades as they go through the course), expected rate of achieving their goals, and their emotional responses to feedback on their performance. Statistical tests using regression will allow the Co-PI to examine the effects of goal attainment and the rate of progress towards goal attainment on students' emotional state.

Broader Impact
Having a better understanding of how goal accomplishment and progress toward goal accomplishment influences individuals' feelings over time can provide insights into better ways to help people as they work towards their goals. It may be important for individuals to modify their goals, or modify the rate at which they expect to reach their goals in order to feel good and continue persisting in their efforts. This would have implications in all areas of life including at school, at work, at home, and in relationships. Employers, coaches, teachers, and mentors may be more effective in guiding others when they face difficulties if they have a better understanding of the ways in which people view themselves, their goals, and the anticipated pace at which they expect to achieve their goals since these characteristics influence the emotions individuals experience and impact how they respond accordingly.
(Abstract from NSF)