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When wanting and fearing go together: The effect of co-occurring social approach and avoidance motivation on behavior, affect, and cognition


Nikitin, J; Freund, Alexandra M (2010). When wanting and fearing go together: The effect of co-occurring social approach and avoidance motivation on behavior, affect, and cognition. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(5):783-804.

Abstract

Three studies investigated the association of social approach and avoidance motivation with cognition, behavior, emotions, and subjective well-being. Study 1 (N = 245), a correlative self-report study, showed that approach and avoidance motivation mediated the effects of adult attachment-styles on social anxiety. A secure attachment-style was associated with co-occurring approach and avoidance motivation. Study 2, a social-interaction study (N = 38), revealed an association of avoidance motivation with a negative experience and passive behavior, and approach motivation with a positive experience and active behavior. Interestingly, the interaction of approach and avoidance motivation predicted engaged behavior and a positive emotional experience. Study 3 (N = 203), an online survey, showed that subjective well-being was negatively associated with high avoidance motivation, irrespective of the strength of approach motivation. Taken together, the studies show that social approach and avoidance motivation interact in predicting positive experiences and social behavior in a concrete social situation. However, from the long-term perspective, the negative consequences of social avoidance motivation seem to prevail when approach and avoidance motivation co-occur.

Three studies investigated the association of social approach and avoidance motivation with cognition, behavior, emotions, and subjective well-being. Study 1 (N = 245), a correlative self-report study, showed that approach and avoidance motivation mediated the effects of adult attachment-styles on social anxiety. A secure attachment-style was associated with co-occurring approach and avoidance motivation. Study 2, a social-interaction study (N = 38), revealed an association of avoidance motivation with a negative experience and passive behavior, and approach motivation with a positive experience and active behavior. Interestingly, the interaction of approach and avoidance motivation predicted engaged behavior and a positive emotional experience. Study 3 (N = 203), an online survey, showed that subjective well-being was negatively associated with high avoidance motivation, irrespective of the strength of approach motivation. Taken together, the studies show that social approach and avoidance motivation interact in predicting positive experiences and social behavior in a concrete social situation. However, from the long-term perspective, the negative consequences of social avoidance motivation seem to prevail when approach and avoidance motivation co-occur.

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14 citations in Web of Science®
15 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:August 2010
Deposited On:12 Jul 2010 15:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:38
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0046-2772
Publisher DOI:10.1002/ejsp.650
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25722

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