Negative affect and ruminative self-focus during everyday goal pursuit.
Moberly, Nicholas J.
Cognition & Emotion
Taylor & Francis
Models of self-regulation propose that negative affect is generated when progress towards goals is perceived to be inadequate. Similarly, ruminative thinking is hypothesised to be triggered by unattained goals (Martin & Tesser, 1996). We conducted an experience-sampling study in which participants recorded their negative affect, ruminative self-focus, and goal appraisals eight times daily for one week. Negative affect and ruminative self-focus were each associated with low levels of goal success and (with the exception of sadness) high levels of goal importance. As predicted, the combination of low goal success and high goal importance was associated with the highest levels of negative affect, and this interaction was marginally significant for ruminative self-focus. Decomposition of the ruminative self-focus measure revealed that the success by importance interaction was significantly associated with focus on problems but not focus on feelings. Findings did not differ for individuals reporting high versus low levels of depressive symptoms or trait rumination. These results suggest that self-regulatory models of goal pursuit provide a useful explanatory framework for the study of affect and ruminative thinking in everyday life.
notes: PMCID: PMC2657315
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Copyright © 2010 Psychology Press Ltd
Vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 729 - 739