The benefits of giving up : clarifying how inabilities to disengage relate to depression

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William Jordan Sasiela (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kari Eddington

Abstract: Adaptive goal adjustment is an important component of well-being. Maladaptive goal adjustment has been associated with depression, particularly inabilities to disengage in the face of unattainable goals. Research has not fully clarified how inabilities to disengage relate to depression. Research focused on impulses to disengage has demonstrated that appraisals of goal importance and goal attainability play a key role. This study intended to build upon past work by examining the relationship between depression and several aspects of disengagement, including reported disengagement behavior. A goals-based interview was administered that assessed appraisals of goal importance and attainability, conditional goal setting and retrospective reports of COVID-19 to examine trends among impacted goals. A total of 310 participants were recruited for this study. Participants completed measures of depression, goal adjustment capacities, conditional goal setting, as well as a goal interview that focused on both current goals and goals impacted by COVID-19. Results demonstrated that depression is associated with perceptions of low attainability for an important goal, mediated by impulses to disengage. Findings also indicated that disengagement behaviors are predicted by perceptions of importance and attainability, and further that conditional goal setting demonstrates associations with goal importance and disengagement. These results demonstrate key associations between depression and disengagement that have not yet been established in the literature. They also provide support for the theory that depression reflects an adaptive response to help promote disengagement and further that disengagement may be hindered by factors related to goal importance, such as conditional goal setting. Implications for clinical populations and future research on goal disengagement is discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Attainability, Conditional Goal Setting, Depression, Disengagement, Goals, Importance
Depression, Mental
Goal (Psychology)

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