Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Social/Personality Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, iii, 118 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Mark Muraven

Committee Members

Ronald Friedman, Anna Newheiser


Goal pursuit, Regulatory focus, Self-control, Motivation (Psychology), Goal (Psychology), Avoidance (Psychology)

Subject Categories



Self-control success often requires considerable effort in moments of temptation. The current research examines the effectiveness of self-control strategies based on individual differences in self-regulatory motivation. Although self-control appears to come easier to those who are avoidance-motivated rather than approach-motivated, this may be due to the conditions under which self-control is needed and tested. Specifically, the temporal context of an anticipated selfcontrol conflict (i.e., if it is near or distant) may be more instrumental for approach-motivated self-regulation relative to avoidance-motivated self-regulation. Three studies test the temporal and motivational conditions under which participants successfully pursue self-control goals. Results suggest that anticipatory self-control strategies directed at distant conflicts provide resources for successful approach-motivated self-regulation that cannot be generated for present conflicts. In other words, the current results suggest that the temporal context represents a specific boundary condition for successful approach/avoidance motivated self-control. The implications for different types of anticipatory strategies and their effectiveness is explored in relation to approach/avoidance motivation, self-control, and goal pursuit.

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Psychology Commons