What do students expect to find when they enter Psychology studies? Goals and personal motives during the first year at university

  • Elena Gámez Universidad de La Laguna
  • Hipólito Marrero Universidad de La Laguna
  • José M. Díaz Universidad de La Laguna
  • Mabel Urrutia Universidad de La Laguna
Keywords: Interpersonal goals, student’s motives, psychological needs, wellbeing, perfectionism.


This study investigated Psychology students’ interpersonal and social goals during their first year at university. In Study 1 we analyze the reliability and ran a confirmatory factor analysis of a 45-item questionnaire about different kinds of interpersonal motives. The sample was integrated by 610 first year college students from four consecutive courses. In a second study with another 140 students, beside the scale about interpersonal goals they completed a set of scales about their aspirations, psychological basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness, subjective wellbeing and perfectionism cognitions. Data from both studies showed that: a) Importance is given mainly to achievement, power, affiliation and overcoming personal problems goals; b) The presence of overcoming personal problems goals hindered adjustment, indicated by positive associations with all the perfectionism dimensions, and by negative association with subjective wellbeing and frustration of psychological needs. Our results could provide new insight about the profiles of psychological students and the consequences resulting from them for their academic guidance.

Author Biography

Elena Gámez, Universidad de La Laguna
Profesora Titular del Departamento de Psicología Cognitiva, Social y Organizacional


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How to Cite
Gámez, E., Marrero, H., Díaz, J. M., & Urrutia, M. (2015). What do students expect to find when they enter Psychology studies? Goals and personal motives during the first year at university. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 31(2), 589-599. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.31.2.171851
Developmental and Educational Psychology