Perceiving a calling and well-being: Motivation and access to opportunity as moderators

Ryan D. Duffy, Jessica W. England, Richard P. Douglass, Kelsey L. Autin, Blake A. Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The current study examined moderator variables that may accentuate the effect of perceiving a calling on well-being amongst a large and diverse sample of working adults (N = 746). Drawing from Self Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) and the Psychology of Working Theory (PWT: Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016), perceiving a calling was hypothesized to have greater effects on wellbeing for individuals with greater calling motivation and access to vocational opportunity, as assessed by income and work volition. Three moderated, multiple mediator models using structural equation modeling were run to test these hypotheses. Specifically, life meaning and living a calling were positioned as mediator variables in the relation of perceiving a calling to life satisfaction and the paths from perceiving a calling to the mediators were proposed to be significantly moderated. Calling motivation was found to be a significant moderator for both paths, supporting propositions of SDT. As the motivation to pursue one's calling increased, the direct effects on life meaning and living a calling and the indirect effects on life satisfaction were stronger. Income was also found to be a significant moderator, supporting propositions of the PWT, but only in the relation of perceiving a calling to living a calling. It was proposed that work volition—a variable related to the perception of vocational opportunity—may be better positioned as correlate of calling variables versus a moderator variable affecting the impact of having a calling. Practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Calling
  • Motivation
  • Psychology of working
  • Work volition


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