University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 17.6.2017 Deciding on the direction of career and life: Personal goals, identity development, and well-being during the transition to adulthood (Marttinen)

Start date: Jun 17, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Jun 17, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Aud. 3

PsM Elina Marttinen defends her doctoral dissertation in Psychology "Deciding on the direction of career and life: Personal goals, identity development, and well-being during the transition to adulthood”. Opponent Professor Wim Beyers (Gent University) and custos Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English. 

Humans make efforts to manage their lives, and they do this by setting goals and making decisions. When they commit to their decisions, they construct their identity. This research aimed to study young people’s personal goal contents and appraisals, and how these constructs were related to identity and career identity development and subjective well-being. The theoretical basis of this research comprised the life-span model of motivation (Nurmi, 2004; Salmela-Aro, 2009), the conceptualisation of phaseadequate engagement (Dietrich, Parker, & Salmela-Aro, 2012), and the dual-cycle model of identity development (Luyckx, Goossens, Soenens, & Beyers, 2006; Luyckx et al., 2008). The data for the study stemmed from the ongoing Finnish Educational Transitions Studies -research programme (FinEdu, 2013). Two samples were used. The results showed that, at age 17, adolescents had several personal goals regarding the future of their education, work, social relationships and income (Study I). Adolescents who mentioned self-related ruminative types of personal goals had higher burnout and more symptoms of depression as well as lower life satisfaction and self-esteem compared to other adolescents. Further, the results showed that a considerable number of young adults (40%) had a diffused or moderately diffused identity profile (Study II). The Diffused diffusion profile was associated with more self-related personal goals and less social relationship goals and with poor well-being. Finally, the results (Study III) showed that career goal success expectations, effort, stressfulness in adolescence and longitudinal changes within these constructs predicted later career identity development, at age 26. Career goal success expectations and effort strengthened throughout adolescence and young adulthood and was associated with adaptive career identity development. Stress related to career goals increased over time, and it predicted maladaptive career identity development. Personal goal contents and processes were related to identity development and well-being. The results revealed a darker side among a significant number of the young people who had self-focused ruminative goals, a diffused identity profile, and ruminative identity processes resulting in poor well-being. Overall, personal goal contents and appraisals proved to be practical tools in assessing and supporting identity development and well-being among young people. 

Keywords: adolescents, young adults, personal goals, career goals, identity development, career identity, well-being, developmental regulation

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Elina Marttinen
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