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Who Cares? Effects of Social Approach and Avoidance Motivation on Responsiveness to Others


Nikitin, Jana; Freund, Alexandra M (2019). Who Cares? Effects of Social Approach and Avoidance Motivation on Responsiveness to Others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(2):182-195.

Abstract

Responsiveness to others (i.e., our understanding, validation, and support of important aspects of others) significantly contributes to positive social relationships. In the present research, we found evidence that responsiveness has motivational origins. In two experiments, participants who were approaching positive social outcomes had a higher level of responsiveness compared to participants who were avoiding negative social outcomes. A third experiment disentangled the roles of motivation and situation valence. Positive (compared to negative) social situations were associated with higher approach motivation, lower avoidance motivation, and a higher level of responsiveness. However, within a given situation, both approach and avoidance motivation were associated with a higher level of responsiveness. This association was even stronger in negative situations, suggesting that both approach and avoidance motivation might be ways of behaving responsively in potentially difficult social situations. The effects were independent of relationship closeness and partly weaker in older compared to younger adults.

Abstract

Responsiveness to others (i.e., our understanding, validation, and support of important aspects of others) significantly contributes to positive social relationships. In the present research, we found evidence that responsiveness has motivational origins. In two experiments, participants who were approaching positive social outcomes had a higher level of responsiveness compared to participants who were avoiding negative social outcomes. A third experiment disentangled the roles of motivation and situation valence. Positive (compared to negative) social situations were associated with higher approach motivation, lower avoidance motivation, and a higher level of responsiveness. However, within a given situation, both approach and avoidance motivation were associated with a higher level of responsiveness. This association was even stronger in negative situations, suggesting that both approach and avoidance motivation might be ways of behaving responsively in potentially difficult social situations. The effects were independent of relationship closeness and partly weaker in older compared to younger adults.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 February 2019
Deposited On:09 Dec 2019 15:08
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:06
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0146-1672
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218781335
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_159399
  • : Project TitleWhy is social avoidance motivation detrimental to young but not older adults?

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