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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Nov;75(5):1282-99.

Avoidance personal goals and the personality-illness relationship.

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  • 1Department of Psychology-Human Motivation Program, University of Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


Three studies demonstrated that avoidance personal goals are positively related to physical symptom reports. These results were obtained (a) using both longitudinal and retrospective methodologies and (b) controlling for neuroticism and other alternative predictor variables. In 2 of the studies, a process model was validated in which perceived competence and perceived controlledness were shown to mediate the observed relationship between avoidance goals and symptomatology. Specifically, avoidance goals predicted perceived competence and perceived controlledness, and these variables in turn predicted longitudinal and retrospective symptom reports. Ancillary results help clarify the unique roles of neuroticism and avoidance goals as predictors of physical symptomatology.

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