Strategies of self-regulation in goal attainment versus goal maintenance



We propose that there exists an important difference between attainment and maintenance in terms of the goal pursuit strategies for which they call. Specifically, we propose that goal attainment calls for the use of eager approach strategies, whereas goal maintenance calls for the use of vigilant avoidance strategies. We distinguish between attainment versus maintenance as two different goal pursuit conditions on the one hand, and promotion versus prevention focus as two different self-regulatory concerns on the other hand. We then use insights from Regulatory Fit Theory to make predictions concerning the interactive effects of these two motivational dimensions on outcome valuations. Consistent with our proposal about attainment and maintenance, we found that participants in a promotion focus valued the outcome of an attainment task more than did participants in a prevention focus, whereas the opposite was true for a maintenance task. Implications for maintenance-related phenomena such as belief perseverance effects are subsequently discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.