Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



The purpose of the present study was an attempt, by examining in more detail the use of the specific strategy of instrumental goal pursuit with the development of the Instrumental Goal Pursuit Scale (IGPS), to extend previous research on the self-selected strategies individuals employ in an attempt to seek happiness. The IGPS consists of five items characterized by happiness-enhancement strategies designed to meet personal goals (e.g., “Attempt to reach my full potential”). Although no gender difference was found, scores on the IGPS correlated significantly (p < .001) with measures of life satisfaction and positive affect. Compared to those with low scores, those in the High-IGPS group maintained personal beliefs reflective of being more satisfied with their current state of happiness, feeling more optimistic about the future, and expressing greater control over their happiness, as well as a greater (p < .001) frequency of use of the more constructive happiness-enhancement strategy categories of Purposeful Leisure, Social Affiliation, Mental Control, and Religious/Reflective. The overall pattern of results suggests initial support for the construct validity of the IGPS. Future research based on instrumental theories linking personality to subjective well-being should focus on individual differences in the underlying dynamics (e.g., goal construction/implementation) and practical implications (e.g., happiness interventions; goal-pursuit training) to examine more thoroughly the validity and utility of the IGPS.