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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Oct;79(4):617-30.

The psychological trade-offs of goal investment.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 61820, USA.


The primary goal of this research was to investigate the possibility that being very invested in goals has psychological trade-offs. Self-report methods were used in a concurrent study with college students (Study 1) and a longitudinal study with elementary school children (Study 2). The results of both studies provided support for the hypothesis that high goal investment has psychological trade-offs. Such investment was associated with positive emotions as well as with worrying, both concurrently and longitudinally. In addition, evidence for mediational mechanisms was provided: Perceptions of accomplishment accounted for the relation between goal investment and positive emotions; the link between goal investment and worrying was mediated by predictions that failure would be upsetting. The implications of these findings for distinguishing between depressive and anxiety symptoms are discussed.

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