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Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 203–235 | Cite as

The Psychology of Future-Oriented Thinking: From Achievement to Proactive Coping, Adaptation, and Aging

  • Lisa G. Aspinwall
Article

Contributions to this special issue examine multiple aspects of how people think about and prepare for desired and undesired future outcomes, including the processes that link thoughts about one's present situation to possible future outcomes and those that promote the balanced pursuit of long-term vs. short-term goals. They also identify new distinctions among widely studied future-oriented thoughts and feelings (e.g., optimism versus hope). Several contributions examine proactive efforts to prevent adverse effects or reduce their impact in such challenging contexts as being discriminated against, aging and becoming disabled, preparing for potential disasters, or coping with terrorist attacks. Two final contributions examine the implications of temporal factors for advance decision-making in medicine and business. This introductory article highlights the central issues addressed by the contributions and discusses ways in which studying future-oriented thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the contexts of stress and lifespan development may extend our understanding of future-oriented phenomena beyond the achievement domain.

KEY WORDS:

future-oriented thinking proactive coping future orientation planning positive affect optimism hope worry stress lifespan development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The assistance of Angela Newman in the preparation of this special issue is gratefully acknowledged, as are helpful comments provided by Cindy Berg, Pete Ditto, Samantha Leaf, Rosa Puca, and Roxane Cohen Silver on a previous version of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahUtahUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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