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Is it adaptive to disengage from demands of social change? Adjustment to developmental barriers in opportunity-deprived regions


Tomasik, Martin J; Silbereisen, Rainer K; Heckhausen, Jutta (2010). Is it adaptive to disengage from demands of social change? Adjustment to developmental barriers in opportunity-deprived regions. Motivation & Emotion, 34(4):384-398.

Abstract

This paper investigates how individuals deal with demands of social and economic change in the domains of work and family when opportunities for their mastery are unfavorable. Theoretical considerations and empirical research suggest that with unattainable goals and unmanageable demands motivational disengagement and self-protective cognitions bring about superior outcomes than continued goal striving. Building on research on developmental deadlines, this paper introduces the concept of developmental barriers to address socioeconomic conditions of severely constrained opportunities in certain geographical regions. Mixed-effects methods were used to model cross-level interactions between individual-level compensatory secondary control and regional-level opportunity structures in terms of social indicators for the economic prosperity and family friendliness. Results showed that disengagement was positively associated with general life satisfaction in regions that were economically devastated and has less than average services for families. In regions that were economically well off and family-friendly, the association was negative. Similar results were found for self-protection concerning domain-specific satisfaction with life. These findings suggest that compensatory secondary control can be an adaptive way of mastering a demand when primary control is not possible.

Abstract

This paper investigates how individuals deal with demands of social and economic change in the domains of work and family when opportunities for their mastery are unfavorable. Theoretical considerations and empirical research suggest that with unattainable goals and unmanageable demands motivational disengagement and self-protective cognitions bring about superior outcomes than continued goal striving. Building on research on developmental deadlines, this paper introduces the concept of developmental barriers to address socioeconomic conditions of severely constrained opportunities in certain geographical regions. Mixed-effects methods were used to model cross-level interactions between individual-level compensatory secondary control and regional-level opportunity structures in terms of social indicators for the economic prosperity and family friendliness. Results showed that disengagement was positively associated with general life satisfaction in regions that were economically devastated and has less than average services for families. In regions that were economically well off and family-friendly, the association was negative. Similar results were found for self-protection concerning domain-specific satisfaction with life. These findings suggest that compensatory secondary control can be an adaptive way of mastering a demand when primary control is not possible.

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20 citations in Web of Science®
20 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
Date:2010
Deposited On:22 Jul 2014 14:50
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:59
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0146-7239
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-010-9177-6

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