Does approach vs. avoidance framing influence rumination cued by unresolved goals?
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Objective: Control theory predicts that the detection of goal discrepancies results in ruminative self-focus (Martin & Tesser, 1996). Previous research has tested this, cueing unresolved vs resolved goals in participants (Roberts et al., 2013). This study aims to build upon research by Roberts et al. (2013) by considering the additional effects of goal type (approach vs avoidance) on state rumination. It was hypothesised that cueing an unresolved goal framed in an avoidance focus would result in increased rumination compared to framing in an approach focus. Methods: In the present study, student participants were randomly assigned to an unresolved approach goal framing (n = 38) or unresolved avoidance goal framing (n= 37) condition, prior to completing a rumination task, followed by the sustained attention to response task. Results: No difference was found on number of ruminative thoughts or task performance between conditions, following the manipulation of goal and state rumination. Both conditions demonstrated reductions in levels of sadness, from pre-to-post manipulation and both reported increased levels of tension from pre-to-post. Conclusion: The absence of a difference in self-reported rumination throughout the task suggests that framing unresolved goals as either approach or avoidance has no effect on rumination.
Doctor of Clinical Psychology