(Un)Reachable? *Susanne Scheibe is now at Stanford University, Department of Psychology, Stanford, CA, USA

Sabine Mayser, Susanne Scheibe, Michaela Riediger
2008 European Psychologist  
Through the selection and pursuit of goals, people are assumed to actively influence their own development. More recently, the construct of life longings (Sehnsucht) has been proposed as playing an equally important role in developmental regulation. This study investigated whether both constructs can be differentiated empirically. Eighty-one participants aged 20 to 69 years reported their most important personal goals and life longings, and evaluated these with respect to their cognitive,
more » ... nal, and action-related characteristics. Results indicate that goals, in comparison to life longings, are perceived as being more closely linked to everyday actions, more strongly related to the future, and more controllable (particularly in terms of their attainability). Life longings, in contrast to goals, were evaluated as being more emotionally ambivalent, more long-term oriented, more strongly related to the past, and as involving a stronger sense of incompleteness. Differences between the two constructs further emerged in their specific contents and in their relationship with overall life satisfaction. Findings justify the distinction between both constructs. Implications for theories of self-regulation are discussed.
doi:10.1027/1016-9040.13.2.126 fatcat:jc4muikv3zclhp6v64klya7clq