Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 750–759 | Cite as

Self-affirmation and affective forecasting: Affirmation reduces the anticipated impact of negative events

  • Janet V. T. PauketatEmail author
  • Wesley G. MoonsEmail author
  • Jacqueline M. Chen
  • Diane M. Mackie
  • David K. Sherman
Original Paper


When forecasting how they will feel in the future, people overestimate the impact that imagined negative events will have on their affective states, partly because they underestimate their own psychological resiliency. Because self-affirmation enhances resiliency, two studies examined whether self-affirmation prior to forecasting reduces the extremity of affective forecasts. Participants in self-affirmation conditions completed a values scale or wrote an essay asserting their most important value, whereas participants in the no-affirmation condition asserted a relatively unimportant value. Participants then predicted their affective reactions to a negative or positive imagined event. In both studies, self-affirmation reduced the unpleasant affect expected to result from a negative event, but had no impact on affective forecasts for a positive event. This pattern was mediated by participants’ cognitive appraisals of the imagined event, but not by differential focus on that event. Results are consistent with self-affirmation activating or enhancing psychological resiliency to counteract immune neglect during affective forecasting of a negative event.


Affective forecasting Self-affirmation Immune neglect Coping 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet V. T. Pauketat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wesley G. Moons
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jacqueline M. Chen
    • 3
  • Diane M. Mackie
    • 1
  • David K. Sherman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Moons AnalyticsSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Social BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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