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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Flexible and tenacious goal pursuit lead to improving well-being in an aging population: A ten-year cohort study
Authors: Kelly, Rebecca E
Wood, Alex M
Mansell, Warren
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Keywords: goal pursuit
Issue Date: Jan-2013
Publisher: Cambridge University Press for the International Psychogeriatric Association
Citation: Kelly RE, Wood AM & Mansell W (2013) Flexible and tenacious goal pursuit lead to improving well-being in an aging population: A ten-year cohort study, International Psychogeriatrics, 25 (1), pp. 16-24.
Abstract: Background: Previous research has shown that tendencies to tenaciously pursue goals and flexibly adapt goals independently relate to well-being in adults in mid-to-late life, but research has not tested whether these tendencies interact. For example, tenacity may only predict well-being in combination with flexibility. This research tests whether these tendencies interact to predict changes in health-related outcomes. Methods: A large cohort of people (n=5,666), initially aged 55-56, completed measures of flexibility, tenacity, health-related outcomes (physical health, depression, hostility), as well as demographics. Participants provided follow-up data on all measures ten years later. Moderation analysis was used to test whether flexibility and tenacity interacted to predict changes in the health-related outcomes over the period. Results: The interaction between tenacity and flexibility significantly predicted changes in depression, hostility, and physical ill-health symptoms over ten years, such that highly flexible and tenacious individuals experienced the largest decreases in symptoms of depression, hostility, and physical ill-health. Conclusions: The interaction between flexibility and tenacity predicts greater well-being, such that one is most protective when an individual also scores highly on the other. The combination of flexibility and tenacity in the pursuit of personal goals may mean individuals can enjoy gains associated with goal pursuit without the detrimental effects of persevering in blocked goals.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in International Psychogeriatrics / Volume 25 / Issue 01 / January 2013, pp 16-24 Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2012 . The original publication is available at
Affiliation: King's College London
University of Manchester

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