Walking the talk: Value importance, value enactment, and well-being
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- Sheldon, K.M. & Krieger, L.S. Motiv Emot (2014) 38: 609. doi:10.1007/s11031-014-9424-3
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Prior research on intrinsic versus extrinsic values has focused on the comparative importance subjects assign to the two types of values, showing that relative intrinsic versus extrinsic value orientation (RIEVO) predicts higher or increased well-being. In two studies, we show that rated action taken regarding the two types of values is just as essential to study. Support was found for four hypotheses: (1) there was a significant behavior/importance gap, such that participants “walked” (acted on values) less than they “talked” (endorsed those values); (2) this was especially true for intrinsic values, an interaction suggesting that the intrinsic ideals of personal growth, community, and connection often receive only lip service; (3) the “walk” (behavior ratings) measure of RIEVO subsumed the “talk” (importance ratings) RIEVO measure’s effects on well-being outcomes, suggesting that researchers interested in predicting well-being from values should perhaps focus on rated value enactment, not value importance; and (4) participants with higher meaning in life, lower search for meaning, more self-concordance at work, and greater chronological age evidenced more consistency between their talking and their walking.