Photo of Marina Milyavskaya

Marina Milyavskaya

Associate Professor

Degrees:Ph.D. (McGill)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 7490
Office:314F Social Sciences Research Building

Research Interests

Why are we successful in our pursuit of certain goals, but not others? My research examines this question, looking at the contextual and individual factors that promote successful goal pursuit and attainment as well as the self-regulatory mechanisms implicated in this process.

In one line of research, I look at the role of the domains in which the goal is set, and have found that people set more autonomous goals which they are then more likely to achieve in domains where they experience satisfaction of basic psychological needs (for autonomy, competence, and relatedness).

Another line of research looks at the mechanisms through which autonomous goals are more likely to be attained by distinguishing between automatic and controlled processes and their effects on self-regulation. For example, when someone successfully maintains a healthy diet, is it because they are good at controlling their cravings for junk food, or is it because the cravings aren’t as strong and so less control is actually needed? In this line of research I am also interested in examining the obstacles that people encounter in pursuing their goals.

Other research interests include autonomy support, health behaviors, attachment, and well-being across the lifespan. Throughout my research I use methods from both social cognition (i.e. implicit measures) and personality psychology (e.g., longitudinal designs with repeated measures), as well as advanced statistical methodologies including multilevel and structural equation modeling.

Selected publications:

Milyavskaya, M., Berkman, E., & De Ridder, D. (in-press). The many faces of self-control: Tacit assumptions and recommendations to deal with them. Motivation Science.

Milyavskaya, M., & Werner, K. M. (2018). Goal pursuit: Current state of affairs and directions for future research. Canadian Psychology/Psychology canadienne, 59, 163-175.

Levine, S. L., & Milyavskaya, M. (2018). Domain-specific perfectionism: An examination of perfectionism beyond the trait-level and its link to well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 74, 56-65.

 Werner, K. M. & Milyavskaya, M. (2017). We may not know what we want, but do we know what we need? Examining the ability to forecast need satisfaction in goal pursuit. Social Psychological and Personality Science, online first

Milyavskaya, M., & Inzlicht, M. (2017).What’s so great about self-control? Examining the importance of effortful self-control and temptation in predicting real-life depletion and goal attainment Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Leduc-Cummings, I., Milyavskaya, M., & Peetz, J. (2017). Goal Motivation and the Subjective Perception of Past and Future Obstacles. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 160-165.  

Werner, K. M., Milyavskaya, M., Foxen-Craft, E., Koestner, R. (2016). Some goals just feel easier: Self-concordance leads to goal progress through subjective ease, not effort.Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 237-242.

Milyavskaya, M., Inzlicht, M., Hope, N. & Koestner, R.(2015). Saying ‘No’ to temptation: ‘want-to’ motivation improves self-regulation by reducing temptation rather than by increasing self-control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 677-693.

Saunders, B., Milyavskaya, M., & Inzlicht, M. (in press).What does cognitive control feel like? Effective and ineffective cognitive control is associated with divergent phenomenology. Psychophysiology.

Milyavskaya, M., Nadolny, D., & Koestner, R. (2014). Where do self-concordant goals come from? The role of domain-specific psychological need satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,40, 700-711.

Milyavskaya, M., Harvey, B., Koestner, R., Powers, T., Rosenbaum, J., Ianakieva, I., &  Prior, A. (2014). Affect across the year: How perfectionism influences the pattern of University students’ affect across the calendar year. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33, 124-142.

Milyavskaya, M., Philippe, F., & Koestner, R. (2013). Psychological need satisfaction across levels of experience: The contribution of specific-level need satisfaction to general well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 41-51.

Milyavskaya, M. & Lydon, J. (2013). Strong but insecure: Examining the prevalence and correlates of insecure attachment bonds with attachment figures. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 529-544.

Koestner, R., Powers, T.A., Carbonneau, N., Milyavskaya, M., & Chua, S. (2012) Distinguishing autonomous and directive forms of goal support: Their effects of goal progress, relationship quality, and personal well being. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1609-1620.

Milyavskaya, M., Ianakieva, I., Foxen-Craft, E., Colantuoni, A., & Koestner, R. (2012). Inspired to get there: the effects of trait and goal inspiration on goal progress. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 56-60.

Radel, R., Pelletier, L., Sarazzin, P., & Milyavskaya, M. (2011). Restoration process of the need for autonomy: the early alarm stage. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 11, 919-934.

Powers, T.A., Koestner, R., Zuroff, D.C., Milyavskaya, M., & Gorin, A. (2011). The effects of self-criticism and self-oriented perfectionism on goal pursuit. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 964-975.

Milyavskaya, M. & Koestner, R. (2011). Psychological needs, motivation, and well-being: A test of Self-Determination Theory across multiple domains. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 387-391.

Milyavskaya, M., Gingras, I.,  Mageau, G., Koestner, R., Gagnon, H., Fang, J., & Boiche, J. (2009). Balance across contexts: The importance of balanced need satisfaction across various life domains in adolescence. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1031.