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Generativity and Positive Emotion in Older Adults: Mediation of Achievement and Altruism Goal Attainment Across Three Cultures

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Generativity, the concern for guiding the next generation, is associated with both agentic (self-orientated) and communal (others-orientated) motives. However, the role of agency-communion goal attainment has not been studied with reference to positive emotion across cultures. The present study examined the mediation effects of achievement and altruism goal attainment between generative concern and positive emotion across three diverse cultures. We used achievement goal attainment to measure agentic goal fulfillment and altruism goal attainment to measure communal goal fulfillment. We tested the mediation effects of achievement and altruism goal attainment were tested with a total of six hundred and twenty-three older adults from the Czech Republic, Germany and Hong Kong. Multi-group structural equation modeling was conducted to test whether the hypothesized model was equivalent across the three cultures. Findings suggested that achievement goal attainment mediated between generative concern and positive emotion for all three countries. However, altruism goal attainment mediated the association between generative concern and positive emotion only in Hong Kong but not in the other two countries. While achievement goal attainment may play a significant role in the association between generativity concern and positive emotion across three cultures, the present study also highlights possible cultural variation on the mediation of altruism goal attainment. Findings underscored the need for further developing a model of generativity and well-being that takes into account goal attainment in diverse cultural contexts.

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This research was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (HO2435/5-1), the Czech Science Foundation (CSF17-02634S) and Institute of Active Ageing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (5-ZH82). For help in recruitment of participants we thank agencies in Prague (REMEDIUM, o.p.s.) and in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Society for the Aged; Hong Kong Association of Senior Citizens; Tsim Sha Tsui District Kaifong Welfare Association- TSTDKFWA Activities Centre for the Elderly; Hong Kong Christian Service; Kwai Tsing Safe Community and Healthy City Association-Tsing Yi Community Health Centre; S.K.H. Holy Carpenter Church Community Centre). With respect to the translation of Chinese questionnaires we thank Professors Helene Fung of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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Au, A., Lai, S., Wu, W. et al. Generativity and Positive Emotion in Older Adults: Mediation of Achievement and Altruism Goal Attainment Across Three Cultures. J Happiness Stud 21, 677–692 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00101-1

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  • Agentic
  • Communal
  • Successful aging
  • Well-being
  • Achievement
  • Altruism
  • Goal attainment
  • Positive emotion