You've gotta know when to fold 'Em: Goal disengagement and systemic inflammation in adolescence

Gregory E. Miller*, Carsten Wrosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

The notion that persistence is essential for success and happiness is deeply embedded in popular and scientific writings. However, when people are faced with situations in which they cannot realize a key life goal, the most adaptive response for mental and physical health may be to disengage from that goal. This project followed 90 adolescents over the course of 1 year. Capacities for managing unattainable goals were assessed at baseline, and concentrations of the inflammatory molecule C-reactive protein (CRP) were quantified at that time, as well as 6 and 12 months later. To the extent that subjects had difficulties disengaging from unattainable goals, they displayed increasing concentrations of CRP over the follow-up. This association was independent of potential confounds, including adiposity, smoking, and depression. Because excessive inflammation contributes to a variety of adverse medical outcomes, these findings suggest that in some contexts, persistence may actually undermine well-being and good health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-777
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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