Social regulatory processes in later life: A web-based microlongitudinal study

Shannon T. Mejía, Karen Hooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal for this study was to examine within-person processes driving individual development related to social goals. We examined how social regulatory processes travel together over time to understand whether daily social goal progress is sensitive to variation in experiences of support and hindrance and the extent to which maintenance or achievement goal orientation explains differences in sensitivity to social experiences. A sample of 105 adults over the age of 50 years chose an individually meaningful social goal to track over time, which they coded as achievement or maintenance oriented. Participants then reported their daily progress and experiences of support and hindrance toward that goal over a 100-day study period. We found social goal progress to positively covary with support and negatively covary with hindrance. These linkages, which we termed sensitivity, varied significantly across participants. This variation was partially explained by differences in goal orientation. Those with an achievement goal made lower goal progress and were more sensitive to support and less sensitive to hindrance than those with a maintenance-oriented goal. Our findings partially explain the processes by which older adults work toward their social goals. Daily goal progress is contingent on daily social experiences, but these sensitivities are in part shaped by goal orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-874
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievement or maintenance goal orientation
  • Hindrance processes
  • Intraindividual variability
  • Relationship regulation
  • Support processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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