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Avoidance Goal Pursuit Depletes Self-Regulatory Resources

Authors


  • This work was partially funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (100014_122435).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Julia Schüler, Institute of Sport Science, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 145, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland. E-mail: julia.schueler@ispw.unibe.ch.

Abstract

Objective

Research on the strength model of self-regulation is burgeoning, but little empirical work has focused on the link between distinct types of daily goal pursuit and the depletion of self-regulatory resources. The authors conducted two studies on the link between avoidance goals and resource depletion.

Method

Study 1 (283 [228 female] Caucasians, ages 18–51) investigated the concurrent and longitudinal relations between avoidance goals and resource depletion over a 1-month period. Study 2 (132 [93 female] Caucasians, ages 18–49) investigated the concurrent and longitudinal relations between avoidance goals and resource depletion over a 1-month period and explored resource depletion as a mediator of the avoidance goal to subjective well-being relation.

Results

Studies 1 and 2 documented both a concurrent and a longitudinal negative relationship between avoidance goals and self-regulatory resources, and Study 2 additionally showed that self-regulatory resources mediate the negative link between avoidance goals and subjective well-being. Ancillary analyses demonstrated that the results observed in the two studies were independent of neuroticism.

Conclusions

These findings advance knowledge in both the resource depletion and avoidance goal literatures, and bolster the view that avoidance goal pursuit over time represents a self-regulatory vulnerability.

Ancillary