Re: Greetings everyone & Personal Projects Analysis

Travis Gee (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 16:37:16 +1100

At 06:10 31/01/1999 +1000, you wrote:

>Would you mind describing what the Personal Projects Analysis (PPA) approach
>is and/or any citations you might know of?

PPA is the original Personal Action Construct (PAC) unit developed by Brian
Little at Carleton, and was the topic of my dissertation. It shares the
focus on aspects of the environment but is not limited to people as elements.
Instead, it focusses on Personal Projects, which can range from "taking out
the garbage" to "reinventing Western civilization." People can appear
too, such as
the project "work on my relationship with Ellen," etc. However, it varies
from classical
Kellian theory in that the constructs are not bipolar and derived from the
Rather, they are 11-point scales (0-10) provided by the researcher, and while
many of these are fairly standard (e.g., Importance, Enjoyment, Stress, etc.)
they are "modular" in that there is no credo that states that all 17
dimensions be used. For example, a study of single mothers who were taking
courses at University used a new "Guilt" dimension ("To what extent does
working on this project make you feel guilty?") which, IIRC, was a major

Camerons' thesis was interesting, because it made the case that many (but
not all)
of the most commonly-used dimensions in PPA actually map quite well
onto the differently-named but structurally-identical constructs used by
people. In PCT-speak, it would analogous to showing that the set of
personal constructs Nuts/Not Like Me, Extremely Friendly/Bashful,
Overt/Sneaky, Always nice/Waste of Time and Clean/Slovenly map nicely
onto some operationalization of Costa & McCrae's notions in a fair number
of cases, indicating that people tend to base their anticipations on these
more universal constructs, and providing some support to the idea that
despite it's nomothetic perspective, the C&M model finds some validity in
the everyday ideas of people at large.

There is a fair bit of literature, and I've excavated some representative
ones from
my archives. An annotated bibliography of Dr. Little's Social Ecology Lab
theses & papers exists, but right now my copy is somewhere in the vicinity
of Fiji, because....

>BTW I notice you are posting from Australia, last time I recall it looked
>like you posted from Canada or the US.

Now that I've graduated, I've moved from
to to take on a Lecturer-project :-)

Here's the list, excluding things that would be very hard to get. Some of
the in-press things should be printed by now. To see how the basic ideas
of PAC units have evolved lately, you can also hunt out work by Bob Emmons
(Personal Strivings) and Nancy Cantor (Life Tasks) if you are so inclined.

PPA References

Lecci, L., Karoly, P., Briggs, C., and Kuhn, K., (1994). Specificity and
generality of
motivational components in depression: A personal projects analysis.
Journal of
Abnormal Psychology, Vol 103(2): 404-408.
Lecci, L., and Karoly, P., (1993). Hypochondriasis and somatization in
college women: A personal projects analysis. Health-Psychology.1993 Mar;
Vol 12(2): 103-109.
Little, B.R., (1983). Personal Projects Analysis: A rationale and method
for investigation.
Environment and Behavior, 15, 273-309.
Little, B.R., (1987). Personality and environment. In D. Stokols and I
Altman (Eds.),
Handbook of environmental psychology. New York; Wiley.
Little, B.R., (1989). Trivial pursuits, magnificent obsessions and the
search for coherence.
In D.M. Buss & N. Cantor (eds.), Personality psychology: Recent trends and
directions. New York; Springer-Verlag.
Little, B.R., (1993). Personal projects and the distributed self: Aspects
of a conative
psychology. In J. Suls (Ed.), Psychological Perspectives on the Self
(Vol. 4, pp. 157-
181). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Little, B.R., (in press). Free traits and personal contexts: Expanding a
social ecological model
of well-being. To appear in Walsh, W.B., Craik, K.H. & Price, R.H. (Eds.)
New Directions
in Person-Environment Psychology (2nd edition). Hillsdale, N.J.; Lawrence
Erlbaum &
Omodei, M.M., & Wearing, A.J., (1990). Need satisfaction and involvement
in personal
projects: Toward an integrative model of subjective well-being. Journal
of Personality
and Social Psychology, 59(4), 762-769.
Palys, T. & Little, B.R., (1983). Personal project systems and perceived
life satisfaction.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(6), 1221-1230.
Salmela-Aro, K., (1992). Struggling with self: The personal projects of
students seeking
psychological counselling. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 33,
Salmela-Aro, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (in press). Goal contents, well-being, and
life context during
transition to university: A longitudinal study. To appear in International
Journal of
Behavioral Development.
Yetim, U., (1993). Life satisfaction: A study based on the organization of
personal projects.
Social Indicators Research, 29, 277-289.


Travis Gee
Lecturer, School of Psychology
University of New England
Armidale NSW 2351
+61 (2) 6773 2410