Giving up on unattainable goals: Benefits for health?

Carsten Wrosch*, Gregory E. Miller, Michael F. Scheier, Stephanie Brun De Pontet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

165 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three studies examined associations between goal disengagement and goal reengagement tendencies and indicators of physical health (e.g., health problems, cortisol rhythms, sleep efficiency). Based on research showing that goal adjustment tendencies are associated with subjective well-being, the authors predicted that people who are better able to disengage from unattainable goals and reengage with alternative goals also may experience better physical health. Across the three studies, the findings demonstrate that the ability to disengage from unattainable goals is associated with better self-reported health and more normative patterns of diurnal cortisol secretion. Goal reengagement, by contrast, was unrelated to indicators of physical health but buffered some of the adverse effects of difficulty with goal disengagement. The results also indicate that subjective well-being can mediate the associations between goal disengagement tendencies and physical health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-265
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007

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Keywords

  • Goal disengagement
  • Goal reengagement
  • Physical health
  • Self-regulation
  • Subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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