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See detailSelf-control motivationally reconsidered: "Acting" self-controlled is different to "being good" at self-control
Grund, Axel UL; Carstens, Christoph-Alexander

in MOTIVATION AND EMOTION (2019), 43(1), 63-81

Self-control is typically conceptualized as an inherent human skill, focusing on the imperative control of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the present research, we scrutinize this understanding by ... [more ▼]

Self-control is typically conceptualized as an inherent human skill, focusing on the imperative control of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the present research, we scrutinize this understanding by differentiating between an ability self-concept of self-control strength and experiential acts of self-control. Moreover, by taking a motivational perspective, we analyze how much of a role intrapsychic conflict plays in both conceptions of self-control, and with regard to psychological well-being. In cross-sectional Study 1 (N = 228), we compared a typicality measure of experiential acts of imperative self-control with the widely used Self-Control Scale (Tangney et al. in J Pers 72:271-322, 2004). Findings confirm that "being good" at self-control does not correspond to "acting" self-controlled, and that both measures show opposing relationships to intrapsychic conflict, as well as to well-being. In Study 2 (N = 114), we corroborated these findings by using an experience-sampling approach. Multilevel analyses showed that between-person differences (Level 2) in self-control strength were generally unrelated to experiential acts of self-control in everyday life. By contrast, we found a positive Level 2 effect for acting self-controlled. With regard to momentary affect, both between- and within differences (Level 1) in acting self-controlled served as substantial predictors, in addition to momentary self-determination. Other context-dependent effects (i.e., studying vs. leisure time) further emphasize the need to consider motivational interpretations of self-control (strength). [less ▲]

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See detailTorn between want and should: An experience-sampling study on motivational conflict, well-being, self-control, and mindfulness
Grund, Axel UL; Grunschel, Carola; Bruhn, Dominik et al

in Motivation and Emotion (2015), 39(4), 506-520

We assumed that situations of motivational want conflict (i.e., feeling that one wants to do something else) and should conflict (i.e., thinking that one should do something else) show differential ... [more ▼]

We assumed that situations of motivational want conflict (i.e., feeling that one wants to do something else) and should conflict (i.e., thinking that one should do something else) show differential relationships to different components of well-being because more affective or more cognitive motivational aspects are ignored, respectively. Moreover, we assumed that these differences contribute to the understanding of different self-regulatory styles. Using an experience-sampling approach, 58 university students indicated their current affect, the underlying form of motivation, and whether they experienced a want or a should conflict regarding their daily activities (N = 2376). Furthermore, we assessed participants' self-control and mindfulness before and life satisfaction after the experience-sampling period. As expected, want conflicts came along with lower affective well-being, but were unrelated to cognitive life satisfaction. Although should conflicts also yielded a small, negative association with some aspects of affective well-being, overall, their negative relation with life satisfaction was more pronounced. Positive paths of self-control on affective well-being were mediated via less want and should conflicts, whereas positive paths of both mindfulness and self-control on life satisfaction were mediated via less should conflicts. The relative importance of want and should conflicts in daily self-regulation and well-being is discussed. [less ▲]

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