Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 158–179 | Cite as

Compassionate goals and affect in social situations

Original Paper


Optimal social interactions can leave people feeling socially connected and at ease, which has clear implications for health and psychological well-being. Yet, not all social interactions leave people feelings at ease and connected. What explains this variability? We draw from the egosystem–ecosystem theory of social motivation (Crocker and Canevello 2008) to suggest that compassionate goals to support others explain some of this variability. We explored the nature of this association across four studies and varying social contexts. Across studies, compassionate goals predicted greater feelings of ease and connection. Results also indicate that a cooperative mindset may be one mechanism underlying this association: Findings suggest a temporal sequence in which compassionate goals lead to cooperative mindsets, which then lead to feeling at ease and connected. Thus, these studies suggest that people’s compassionate goals lead to their sense of interpersonal ease and connection, which may ultimately have implications for their sense of belonging.


Compassionate goals Social interactions Cooperative mindset Social connection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina, CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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