How University Instructors’ Achievement Goals Are Related to Subjective Well-Being: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis

Raven Rinas*, Lisa Kiltz, Markus Dresel, Martin Daumiller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research indicates that university instructors struggle with compromised subjectivewell-being (SWB) and have faced further challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although studies have found instructors’ achievement goals to be important motivational factors linked to their well-being, longitudinal research is needed to clarify the directionality of these relations over time to advance theory, research, and practice. In the present study, we aimed to contribute to this line of research by investigating bidirectional relations between achievement goals and multifaceted SWB (positive affect, negative affect, job satisfaction, life satisfaction) in 489 German university instructors across a semester (3 months) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Latent cross-lagged panel analysis revealed that instructors’ positive affect and job satisfaction at the semester start positively predicted changes in theirmastery approach goals and performance approach goals, and negatively predicted changes in their work avoidance goals. Moreover, a positive reciprocal loop was observed between job satisfaction and performance approach goals. Our findings emphasize the necessity of considering instructors’ achievement goals not only as causes but also as consequences of their well-being when designing future studies and support measures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • achievement goals
  • higher education
  • motivation
  • subjective well-being
  • university instructors

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