Regulatory Focus and Beneficial Disengagement from Unattainable Goals

Rocchecouste, Philip (2013). Regulatory Focus and Beneficial Disengagement from Unattainable Goals Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Rocchecouste, Philip
Thesis Title Regulatory Focus and Beneficial Disengagement from Unattainable Goals
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Andrew Neal
Total pages 89
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Disengaging commitment from unattainable goals has been shown to improve well-being (Wrosch, Scheier, Miller, Schulz, & Carver, 2003). This study proposed that the ability to disengage commitment from unattainable goals results from differences in prevention focus. Prevention focus is one of two motivational forces described in the Theory of Regulatory Focus, with the other being promotion focus (Higgins, 1997). When people display high prevention focus they perceive goals as obligations and have a tendency to fixate on these goals. Theoretical support for this investigation derived from the prevention focus maintaining high levels commitment at high levels of goal value independent of goal expectancy, (Shah & Higgins, 1997). The predictions made in this study are that at high levels of prevention focus disengagement of commitment from unattainable goals is inhibited by a desire not to lose goals, which are seen as obligations. A mixed model design utilising an air traffic control simulator task measured goal commitment before and after a goal became unattainable. Commitment scores were then contrasted against participants’ trait and state prevention focus and the presence of regulatory fit. Results showed no relation between prevention focus and commitment scores at any stage of the analysis. None of the hypotheses were supported and there was no evidence of disengagement of commitment from the unattainable goal at all during the experiment. Effects that emerged in the follow up analysis but were not hypothesised are discussed in relation to the current research. Experimental limitations and future directions for research are also discussed in light of the null findings.
Keyword goal disengagement
unattainable goals
regulatory focus

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Created: Thu, 03 Jul 2014, 15:05:40 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology