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Goals, Styles, and Decisions: Changes and Interactions during the First Year of College

KATHLEEN M. GALOTTI and LACEY R. CLARE
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 127, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 383-396
DOI: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.127.3.0383
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/amerjpsyc.127.3.0383
Page Count: 14
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Goals, Styles, and Decisions: Changes and Interactions during the First Year of College
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Abstract

First-year undergraduates participated in a short-term longitudinal study of goal setting and decision making over their first 14 months of college. First, students wrote a mission statement, listed their goals for the upcoming year, and filled out several individual difference style measures. In subsequent sessions, students were surveyed about different decisions pertaining to their choice of college major, course selection, housing, and summer plans. At the beginning of their second year, participants were shown their previously listed goals and surveyed about their progress, their satisfaction with their progress, and their retrospective view of their goals. Additionally, participants responded again to the individual difference measures. A moderate degree of stability was found in the individual difference measures, yet there were several significant changes over the year. Goal evaluation scores correlated with specific individual difference measures, and self-reported descriptions of reactions to how specific decisions were made, but not with behavioral measures of decision making. We speculate on ways in which stylistic measures become part of a construction of a more general narrative identity, shaped in significant ways by the college environment that selectively reinforces some analytic habits of mind.

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