Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Julie Hicks Patrick

Committee Co-Chair

Amy L Gentzler

Committee Member

Kevin T Larkin


Future time perspective has been studied in a number of domains and shown to influence the associations among age and a range of personal, health and social goals (Carstensen et al., 1999; Cate & John, 2007; Nurmi, 1992; Stahl & Patrick, 2012). However, the past and present also matter. It is likely that future goals are affected by our present feelings or behaviors (Lewin, 1939), as well as by our future orientation. What is not clear, however, is whether and in what ways past and present orientation relate to current goals and age. The aim of the current study was to examine the associations among age, temporal orientations, and goal selection and pursuit. We examined these questions using data provided by 167 adults, ranging in age from 18 to 87 years (M age = 39.8, SD = 15.7). Age showed a positive, but weak, correlation with goals, showing that older adults had more goals than younger adults. Time orientations showed both moderating and mediating effects on the relationship between age and total number of goals a person was pursuing. Negative past time perspective mediated the relationship between age and goals, F(2,164) = 4.54, p = .012; R2 = .053. The moderating effects between age and goals seem to be isolated to the people who have the highest levels of positive past, present, and/or future. This is important because how we feel about our present and our future, no matter the age, will help to determine how many goals we have.