Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 25–57 | Cite as

Goal relevance and the affective experience of daily life: Ruling out situational explanations

  • William Fleeson
  • Nancy Cantor


The importance of goals to affect in daily life has begun to be established in research that shows, across the events of daily life, an association between the content of the goal an individual is working on and her or his affect while working on the goal (Cantor, Norem et al., 1991; Emmons, 1991). However, these studies have not considered that situational, interpersonal, and temporal contexts might explain this association because contexts may be responsible both for variation in the goals an individual is working on and for the affect an individual is experiencing. To firmly establish the importance of goals to affect, such third-variable explanations must be ruled out (West & Hepworth, 1991). In a 2-week experience-sampling study, we showed that goal relevance can vary while contexts are held constant, and that this variation remains associated with variation in affect while the context is held constant, thus ruling out context as an explanation of these associations. Additionally, the importance of a goal to an individual was related to this variation in goal pursuit within each context. It is discussed how contexts and goals interact to influence affective experience in daily life.


Social Psychology Temporal Context Affective Experience Goal Pursuit Goal Relevance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Fleeson
    • 2
  • Nancy Cantor
    • 1
  1. 1.Princeton UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Human Development and EducationBerlinGermany

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