A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Goal-Setting and Planning Intervention to Improve Working Adults' Well-Being

Jeremy Oliver

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The well-being of working adults is an issue of current concern. The aim of the
present study was to test whether a goal-setting and planning (GAP) intervention
could improve working adults’ well-being. The intervention focused on setting
meaningful goals, making realistic plans to achieve those goals and overcoming
obstacles to progress. GAP was delivered as an online self-help programme, with
minimal support. Using a longitudinal, randomised controlled crossover design, the study sought to: (1) test the effectiveness of the intervention relative to wait-list controls; (2) test the effectiveness of the intervention over time, for the whole sample, both immediately after the intervention period and three months later; and (3) establish whether initial well-being was associated with participants’ response to the intervention. Relative to wait-list controls (N = 139), GAP participants (N = 111) reported significantly higher levels of positive affect, life satisfaction and flourishing immediately post-intervention, but not lower levels of negative affect. Longitudinal data were analysed for all participants who completed follow-up measures (N = 163). Compared to the start of the intervention, participants reported an increase in positive
affect and flourishing, directly after the intervention and three months later. Negative affect and life satisfaction showed no change by the end of the intervention, but both had improved by three-month follow-up compared to the start of the intervention. Initial well-being levels were not associated with intervention response. This study demonstrated that working adults’ well-being can be improved through access to online self-help guidance in goal-setting and planning. The study contributes to the evidence base for effective cognitive-behavioural workplace interventions and provides a potential model for adapting clinically-proven interventions to make them accessible to working adults.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • MacLeod, Andrew, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • Randomised Controlled Trial
  • Goals
  • Well-Being
  • Working Adults
  • Goal-Setting
  • Planning

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