Self-report measures of individual differences in regulatory focus: A cautionary note

Amy Summerville*, Neal J. Roese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Regulatory focus theory distinguishes between two independent structures of strategic inclination, promotion versus prevention. However, the theory implies two potentially independent definitions of these inclinations, the self-guide versus the reference-point definitions. Two scales (the Regulatory Focus Questionnaire [Higgins, E. T., Friedman, R. S., Harlow, R. E., Idson, L. C., Ayduk, O. N., & Taylor, A. (2001). Achievement orientations from subjective histories of success: Promotion pride versus prevention pride. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 3-23] and the General Regulatory Focus Measure [Lockwood, P., Jordan, C. H., & Kunda, Z. (2002). Motivation by positive and negative role models: Regulatory focus determines who will best inspire us. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 854-864]) have been widely used to measure dispositional regulatory focus. We suggest that these two scales align respectively with the two definitions, and find that the two scales are largely uncorrelated. Both conceptual and methodological implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Affect
  • Approach
  • Avoidance
  • Motivation
  • Regulatory focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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