Examining the effect of future time perspective on goal adjustment in long distance runners: The mediating role of grit


Pursuit of personal goals is an adaptive aspect of self-regulation in physical activity. The way in which individuals perceive their future has implications for goal-striving, such that goals may optimize long- or short-term pleasures as per tenets of socioemotional selectivity theory (SST). Individuals with an expansive time perspective are likely to pursue goals while those with limited time perspective are likely to disengage from unattainable goals. Currently, examination of goal adjustment within tenets of SST in athletes is limited. Moreover, exploring factors that contribute to relationship between time perspective and goal adjustment is needed. Grit may mediate this relationship as it is a personality trait that involves pursuit of long-term goals despite failure. Long-distance runners (N = 126; 75% female; Mage = 38 + 11 years) completed self-report measures assessing future time perspective (FTP; Carstensen & Lang, 1996), grit (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), and goal adjustment (Wrosch et al., 2013). Correlations were significant (p < .05) for FTP and grit (r = .41), and grit and goal disengagement (r = -.27). Mediation models, controlling for age, were estimated separately for goal disengagement and reengagement. Grit mediated relationship between FTP and goal disengagement (point estimate = -0.32, BCa CI= -0.76 to -0.02). In this sample, expansive FTP is not associated with pursuit of long-term goals, which is inconsistent with SST; however, further research is warranted to determine the generalizability of this finding. Further, runners with higher grit may not disengage in goal pursuits, which may affect maladaptive self-regulation processes when goals become unattainable.