Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jeanne Nakamura

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Kendall Cotton Bronk

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Suzanna Penningroth

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Yeojin Rho


Goals influence the direction of life. Because of this, goals play major roles in our motivations, behaviors, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2015). Thus, it has been one of the important topics in developmental psychology to study how goals are formed and changed over the life-span. Selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) theory and socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) explain goal changes throughout life. Although these theories focus on different factors that led to goal changes and on different aspects of goals, both theories assert that people can achieve their goals, be satisfied with their life, and finally experience successful aging (Freund & Baltes, 1988, 2002a; Fung, Rice, & Carstensen, 2005; Kennedy, Fung, & Carstensen, 2001; Lang et al., 2002). Guided by SOC theory and SST, this study examined individual differences in older adults’ goal achieving strategies and goal types using survey questionnaires. Although SOC and SST can explain general age changes in goal strategies and goal types, resources are important factors to explain individual differences in goal strategies and goal types. The study examined how goal strategies and goal types mediate the relations between individual differences, specifically health, educational level, and neuropsychological system in personality, and older adults’ life satisfaction. The participants were adults 65 and older recruited from Adult Day Care Health Centers in the Los Angeles area. Mediation effects were not found. However, there were significant moderation effects of different goal achievement strategies and goal types on relationships between individual factors and life satisfaction. That is, higher life satisfaction during older adulthood was associated with using different goal achievement strategies and focusing on different goal types depending on people’s levels of individual resources. Socioemotional selectivity theory and selection, optimization, and compensation theory may better illuminate the relationship of goal pursuit to satisfaction with later life when individual factors are taken into account. Limitations and future directions are discussed.