Skip to main content

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

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aldwin, C. M., Sutton, K. J., & Lachman, M. (1996). The development of coping resources in adulthood. Journal of Personality, 64, 837–871.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Armor, D. A., & Taylor, S. E. (1998). Situated optimism: Specific outcome expectancies and self-regulation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 30, pp. 309–379). New York: Academic Press.

  • Ashby, F. G., Isen, A. M., & Turken, A. U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition. Psychological Review, 106, 529–550.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ashford, S. J. (1986). Feedback-seeking in individual adaptation: A resource perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 29, 465–487.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashford, S. J., & Cummings, L. L. (1983). Feedback as an individual resource: Personal strategies of creating information. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 32, 379–398.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G. (1997a). Future-oriented aspects of social comparisons: A framework for studying health-related comparison activity. In B. P. Buunk & F. X. Gibbons (Eds.), Health, coping, and well-being: Perspectives from social comparison theory (pp. 125–165). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G. (1997b). Where planning meets coping: Proactive coping and the detection and management of potential stressors. In S. L. Friedman & E. K. Scholnick (Eds.), The developmental psychology of planning: Why, how and when do we plan? (pp. 285–320). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G. (1998). Rethinking the role of positive affect in self-regulation. Motivation and Emotion, 22, 1–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & Brunhart, S. M. (1996). Distinguishing optimism from denial: Optimistic beliefs predict attention to health threats. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 993–1003.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & Brunhart, S. M. (2000). What I do know won't hurt me: Optimism, attention to negative information, coping, and health. In J. E. Gillham (Ed.), The science of optimism and hope (pp. 163–200). Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., Hartman, H. M., Brunhart, S. M., Bieri, J., & Kaftarian, C. (2005). Optimism and Responses to Problems in Close Relationships. Manuscript in preparation.

  • Aspinwall, L. G., Hill, D. L., & Leaf, S. L. (2002). Prospects, pitfalls, and plans: A proactive perspective on social comparison activity. European Review of Social Psychology, 12, 267–298.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & Leaf, S. L. (2002). In search of the unique aspects of hope: Pinning our hopes on positive emotions, future-oriented thinking, hard times, and other people. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 276–288.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & MacNamara, A. (2005). Taking positive changes seriously: Toward a positive psychology of cancer survivorship and resilience. Cancer, 104(Suppl 11), 2549–2556.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & Richter, L. (1999). Optimism and self-mastery predict more rapid disengagement from unsolvable tasks in the presence of alternatives. Motivation and Emotion, 23, 221–245.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., Richter, L., & Hoffman, R. R. (2001). Understanding how optimism “works”: An examination of optimists’ adaptive moderation of belief and behavior. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 217–238). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., Sechrist, G. B., & Jones, P. R. (this volume). Expect the best and prepare for the worst: Anticipatory coping and preparations for Y2K. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Aspinwall, L. G., & Taylor, S. E. (1997). A stitch in time: Self-regulation and proactive coping. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 417–436.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Austin, J. T., & Vancouver, J. B. (1996). Goal constructs in psychology : Structure, process, and content. Psychological Bulletin, 120, 338–375.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122–147.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Weissman, A., Lester, D., & Trexler, L. (1974). The measurement of pessimism: The Hopelessness Scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 861–865.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg, C. A., Strough, J., Calderone, K., Meegan, S. P., & Sansone, C. (1997). Planning to prevent everyday problems from occurring. In S. L. Friedman & E. K. Scholnick (Eds.), The developmental psychology of planning: Why, how, and when do we plan? (pp. 209–236). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brehm, J. W., & Self, E. A. (1989). The intensity of motivation. Annual Review of Psychology, 40, 109–131.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, C. M., & Segal, R. (1996). Ethnic differences in temporal orientation and its implications for hypertension management. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37, 350–361.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Buehler, R., Griffin, D., & Ross, M. (1994). Exploring the “planning fallacy”: Why people underestimate their task completion times. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 366–381.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burack, O. R., & Lachman, M. E. (1996). The effects of list-making on recall in young and elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology, 51, 226–233.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bruininks, P., & Malle, B. F. (this volume). Distinguishing hope from optimism and related affective states. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Carnelley, K. B., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Optimism about love relationships: General vs. specific lessons from one's personal exp-eriences. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 5–20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carstensen, L. L., Isaacowitz, D. M., & Charles, S. T. (1999). Taking time seriously: A theory of socioemotional selectivity. American Psychologist, 54, 165–181.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., Harris, S. D., Lehman, J. M., Durel, L. A., Antoni, M. H., Spencer, S. M., et al., (2000). How important is the perception of personal control? Studies of early stage breast cancer patients. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 139–150.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1990). Principles of self-regulation: Action and emotion. In R. M. Sorrentino & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 3–52). New York: Guilford Press.

  • Carver, C. S. & Scheier, M. F. (Eds.). (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2002). The hopeful optimist. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 288–290.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2003). Three human Strengths. In L. G. Aspinwall & U. M. Staudinger (Eds.), A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology (pp. 87–102). Washington, DC: APA Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chapman, G. B., Brewer, N. T., Coups, E. J., Brownlee, S., Leventhal, H., & Leventhal, E. A. (2001). Value for the future and preventive health behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 7, 235–250.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Davey, G. C. L., Hampton, J., Farrell, J., & Davidson, S. (1992). Some characteristics of worrying: Evidence for worrying and anxiety as separate constructs. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 133–147.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, C. G., Lehman, D. R., Wortman, C. B., Silver, R. C., & Thompson, S. C. (1995). The undoing of traumatic life events. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 109–124.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diamond, L. M., & Aspinwall, L. G. (2003). Emotion regulation across the life span: An integrative perspective emphasizing self-regulation, positive affect, and dyadic processes. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 125–156.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ditto, P. H., Hawkins, N., & Pizarro, D. A. (this volume). Imagining the end of life: On the psychology of advance medical decision making. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Dunning, D., & Story, A. L. (1991). Depression, realism, and the overconfidence effect: Are the sadder wiser when predicting future actions and events? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 521–532.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

  • Folkman, S. (1997). Positive psychological states and coping with severe stress. Social Science and Medicine, 45, 1207–1221.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2, 300–319.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frederickson, B. L., & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward emotional well-being. Psychological Science, 13, 172–175.

    Google Scholar 

  • Friedman, S. L. & Scholnick E. K. (Eds.). (1997). The developmental psychology of planning: Why, how, and when do we plan? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Gerrard, M. (1982). Sex, sex guilt, and contraceptive use. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 153–158.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gervey, B., Igou, E. R., & Trope, Y. (this volume). Positive mood and future-oriented self-evaluation. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Gibbons, F. X., & Gerrard, M. (1997). Health images and their effects on health behavior. In B. P. Buunk & F. X. Gibbons (Eds.), Health, coping, and well-being: Perspectives from social comparison theory (pp. 63–94). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilbert, D. T., Pinel, E. C., Wilson, T. D., Blumberg, S. J., & Wheatley, T. P. (1998). Immune neglect: A source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 617–638.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gollwitzer, P. M. (1990). Action phases and mind-sets. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 53–92). New York: Guilford Press.

  • Gollwitzer, P. M. (1998). The volitional benefits of planning. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior (pp. 287–312). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493–503.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gray, J. R. (1999). A bias toward short-term thinking in threat-related negative emotional states. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 65–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenglass, E. R. (2002). Proactive coping and quality of life management. In E. Frydenberg (Ed.), Beyond coping: Meeting goals, visions, and challenges (pp. 37–62). London: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenglass, E. R., Schwarzer, R., & Tauber, S. (1999). The Proactive Coping Inventory (PCI): A multidimensional research instrument. Retrieved July 2, 2003, from York University, Esther R. Greenglass Homepage Web site: http://www.psych.yorku.ca/greenglass/pcinven/html

  • Heckhausen, J., & Krueger, J. (1993). Developmental expectations for the self and most other people: Age-grading in three functions of social comparisons. Developmental Psychology, 29, 539–548.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckhausen, J., & Schulz, R. (1995). A life-span theory of control. Psychological Review, 102, 284–304.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Heine, S. J., & Lehman, D. R. (1995). Cultural variation in unrealistic optimism: Does the West feel more invulnerable than the East? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 595–607.

    Google Scholar 

  • Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319–340.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Higgins, E. T. (1996). The “self digest”: Self-knowledge serving self-regulatory functions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1062–1083.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280–1300.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44, 513–524.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holman, E. A., & Silver, R. C. (1998). Getting “stuck” in the past: Temporal orientation and coping with trauma. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1146–1163.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holman, E. A., & Silver, R. C. (this volume). Future-oriented thinking and adjustment in a nationwide longitudinal study following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Isen, A. M. (1993). Positive affect and decision making. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 261–277). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Isen, A. M. (2003). Positive affect as a source of human strength. In L. G. Aspinwall & U. M. Staudinger (Eds.), A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology (pp. 179–195). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Isen, A. M., & Reeve, J. (this volume). The influence of positive affect on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Facilitating enjoyment of play, responsible work behavior, and self-control. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Johnson, M. K., & Sherman, S. J. (1990). Constructing and reconstructing the past and the future in the present. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 482–526). New York: Guilford Press.

  • Jones, J. M. (1988). Cultural differences in temporal perspectives: Instrumental and expressive behaviors in time. In J. McGrath (Ed.), The social psychology of time: New perspectives (pp. 21–38). Newbury Park: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kahana, E., & Kahana, B. (1996). Conceptual and empirical advances in understanding aging well through proactive adaptation. In V. Bengtson (Ed.), Adulthood and aging: Research on continuities and discontinuities (pp. 13–40). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kahana, E., Kahana, B., & Zhang, J. (this volume). Motivational antecedents of preventive proactivity in late life: Linking future orientation and exercise. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Klein, W. M., & Weinstein, N. D. (1997). Social comparison and unrealistic optimism about personal risk. In B. P. Buunk & F. X. Gibbons (Eds.), Health, coping, and well-being: Perspectives from social comparison theory (pp. 25–61). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klinger, E. (1994). On living tomorrow today: The quality of inner life as a function of goal expectations. In Z. Zaleski (Ed.), Psychology of future orientation (pp. 97–106). Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lerner, J. S., & Gonzalez, R. M. (2005). Forecasting one's future based on fleeting subjective experiences. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 454–466.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leith, K. P., & Baumeister, R. F. (1996). Why do bad moods increase self-defeating behavior?: Emotion, risk taking, and self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1250– 1267.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Liberman, N., & Trope, Y. (1998). The role of feasibility and desirability considerations in near and distant future decisions: A test of Temporal Construal Theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 5–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41, 954–969.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marlatt, G. A. & Gordon J. R. (Eds.). (1985). Relapse prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors. New York: Guilford Press.

  • Matthews, A. (1990). Why worry? The cognitive function of anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28, 455–468.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mallett, R. K., & Swim, J. K. (this volume). Bring it on: Proactive coping with discrimination. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • McCaul, K. D., & Mullens, A. B. (2003). Affect, thought and self-protective health behavior: The case of worry and cancer screening. In J. Suls & K. A. Wallston (Eds.), Social psychological foundations of health and illness (pp. 137–168). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • McGrath, J. E. (Ed.). (1988). The social psychology of time: New perspectives. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

  • McGrath, J. E., & Beehr, T. A. (1990). Time and the stress process: Some temporal issues in the conceptualization and measurement of stress. Stress Medicine, 6, 93–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Worry changes decision making: The effect of negative thoughts on cognitive processing. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 48, 76–88.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, C. T., & Myers, A. M. (1998). Compensating for prejudice: How heavyweight people (and others) control outcomes despite prejudice. In J. K. Swim & C. Stangor (Eds.), Prejudice: The target's perspective (pp. 191–218). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, L. C., Bettencourt, B. A., DeBro, S. C., & Hoffman, V. (1993). Negotiating safer sex: Interpersonal dynamics. In J. B. Pryor & G. D. Reeder (Eds.), The social psychology of HIV infection (pp. 85–123). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. L. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244, 933–938.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Newby-Clark, I. R., & Ross, M. (2003). Conceiving the past and future. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 807–818.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Parker, L. E., & Larson, J. (1994). Ruminative coping with depressed mood following loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 92–104.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Norem, J. K., & Cantor, N. (1986). Defensive pessimism: “Harnessing” anxiety as motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1208–1217.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Norem, J. K., & Chang, E. C. (2001). A very full glass: Adding complexity to our thinking about the implications and applications of optimism and pessimism research. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 347–367). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nurmi, J.-E. (1989). Development of orientation to the future during early adolescence: A four-year longitudinal study and two cross-sectional comparisons. International Journal of Psychology, 24, 195–214.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oettingen, G. (1996). Positive fantasy and motivation. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action (pp. 236–259). NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oettingen, G., & Mayer, D. (2002). The motivating function of thinking about the future: Expectations versus fantasies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1198–1212.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Oettingen, G., Mayer, D., Thorpe, J. S., Janetzke, H., & Lorenz, S. (this volume). Turning fantasies about positive and negative futures into self-improvement goals. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Okhuysen, G. A., Galinsky, A. D., & Uptigrove, T. A. (2003). Saving the worst for last: The effect of time horizon on the efficiency of negotiating benefits and burdens. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 91, 269–279.

    Google Scholar 

  • Okhuysen, G. A., & Bonner, B. L. (this volume). Future thinking in disadvantaged situations: The role of outcome delays and competitive issues in negotiation. Motivation and Emotion [special issue].

  • Olson, J. M., Roese, N. J., & Zanna, M. P. (1996). Expectancies. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 211–238). NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peters E. & McCaul K. D. (Eds.). (2005). Basic and applied decision making in cancer control [Supplemental issue]. Health Psychology, 24.

  • Powe, B. D. (1995). Cancer fatalism among elderly Caucasians and African Americans. Oncology Nursing Forum, 22, 1355–1359.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Prenda, K. M., & Lachman, M. E. (2001). Planning for the future: A life management strategy for increasing control and life satisfaction in adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 16, 206–216.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Puca, R. M., & Aspinwall, L. G. (2006). Knowing when to be optimistic: Dispositional optimism moderates mindset effects. Manuscript in preparation.

  • Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1987). Self-regulatory perseveration and the depressive self-focusing style: A self-awareness theory of reactive depression. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 122– 138.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Radcliffe, N. M., & Klein, W. M. P. (2002). Dispositional, unrealistic, and comparative optimism: Differential relations with knowledge and processing of risk information and beliefs about personal risk. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 836–846.

    Google Scholar 

  • Raghunathan, R., & Trope, Y. (2002). Walking the tightrope between feeling good and being accurate: Mood as a resource in processing persuasive messages. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 510–525.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Riskind, J. H., Williams, N. L., Gessner, T. L., Chrosniak, L. D., & Cortina, J. M. (2000). The looming maladaptive style: Anxiety, danger, and schematic processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 837–852.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J. R., & Snyder, S. S. (1982). Changing the world and changing the self: A two-process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 5–37.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruble, D. N., Fleming, A., Hackel, S., & Stangor, C. (1988). Changes in the marital relationship during the transition to first-time motherhood: Effects of violated expectations concerning division of household labor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 78–87.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ruble, D. N., & Frey, K. S. (1991). Changing patterns of comparative behavior as skills are acquired: A functional model of self-evaluation. In J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 79–113). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanna, L. J. & Chang E. C.(Eds.). (2006). Judgments over time. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Sansone, C., & Berg, C. A. (1993). Adapting to the environment across the life span: Different process or different inputs? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 16, 379–390.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sansone, C., Weir, C., Harpster, L., & Morgan, C. (1992). Once a boring task always a boring task?: Interest as a self-regulatory mechanism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 379–390.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219–247.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063–1078.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schonpflug, W. (1986). Behavior economics as an approach to stress theory. In M. H. Appley & R. Trumbull (Eds.), Dynamics of stress: Physiological, psychological, and social perspectives (pp. 81–98). New York: Plenum Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwarzer, R. (2000). Manage stress at work through preventive and proactive coping. In E. A. Locke (Ed.), The Blackwell handbook of principles of organizational behavior (pp. 342–355). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shepperd, J. A., Ouellette, J. A., & Fernandez, J. K. (1996). Abandoning unrealistic optimism: Performance estimates and the temporal proximity of self-relevant feedback. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 844–855.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sigall, H., Kruglanski, A., & Fyock, J. (2000). Wishful thinking and procrastination. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 283–295.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, E. A. (1996). A guide to constructs of control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 549–570.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, E. A. (1997). Planning and perceived control. In S. L. Friedman & E. K. Scholnick (Eds.), The developmental psychology of planning: Why, how, and when do we plan? (pp. 263–284). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope: You can get there from here. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope theory: Rainbows in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 249– 275.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, C. R., Irving, L., & Anderson, J. R. (1991). Hope and health: Measuring the will and the ways. In C. R. Snyder & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Handbook of social and clinical psychology: The health perspective (pp. 285–305). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stein, N., Folkman, S., Trabasso, T., & Richards, T. A. (1997). Appraisal and goal processes as predictors of psychological well-being in bereaved caregivers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 872–884.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Strathman, A., Gleicher, F., Boninger, D. S., & Edwards, C. S. (1994). The consideration of future consequences: Weighing immediate and distant outcomes of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 742–752.

    Google Scholar 

  • Staudinger, U. M., Bluck, S., & Herzberg, P. Y. (2003). Looking back and looking ahead: Adult age differences in consistency of diachronous ratings of subjective well-being. Psychology and Aging, 18, 13–24.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Staudinger, U. M., Freund, A., Linden, M., & Maas, I. (1999). Self, personality, and life management: Psychological resilience and vulnerability. In P. B. Baltes & K. U. Mayer (Eds.), The Berlin Aging Study: Aging from 70 to 100 (pp. 302–326). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swim, J. K., Hyers, L. L., Cohen, L. L., Fitzgerald, D. F., & Bylsma, W. B. (2003). African American college students’ experiences with everyday anti-black racism: Characteristics of and responses to these incidents. Journal of Black Psychology, 29, 38–67.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swim, J. K. & Stangor, C. (Eds.). (1998). Prejudice: The target's perspective. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

  • Taylor, S. E. (1989). Positive illusions: Creative self-deception and the healthy mind. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193–210.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (1995). Effects of mindset on positive illusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 213–226.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., Aspinwall, L. G., Schneider, S. G., Rodriguez, R., & Herbert, M. (1992). Optimism, coping, psychological distress, and high-risk sexual behavior among men at risk for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 460–473.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., Reed, G. M., Bower, J. E., & Greunewald, T. L. (2000). Psychological resources, positive illusions, and health. American Psychologist, 55, 99–109.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., Pham, L. B., Rivkin, I. D., & Armor, D. A. (1998). Harnessing the imagination: Mental simulation, self-regulation, and coping. American Psychologist, 53, 429–439.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., Repetti, R. L., & Seeman, T. (1997). Health psychology: What is an unhealthy environment and how does it get under the skin? Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 411–447.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., & Schneider, S. K. (1989). Coping and the simulation of events. Social Cognition, 7, 174–194.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tennen, H., Affleck, G., & Tennen, R. (2002). Clipped feathers: The theory and measurement of hope. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 311–317.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trope, Y., & Neter, E. (1994). Reconciling competing motives in self-evaluation: The role of self-control in feedback seeking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 646–657.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Trope, Y., & Pomerantz, E. M. (1998). Resolving conflicts among self-evaluative motives: Positive experiences as a resource for overcoming defensiveness. Motivation and Emotion, 22, 53–72.

    Google Scholar 

  • VanBoven, L., Dunning, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2000). Egocentric empathy gaps between owners and buyers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 66–76.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weinstein, N. D. (1980). Unrealistic optimism about future life events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 806–820.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zaleski, Z. (1996). Future anxiety: Concept, measurement, and preliminary research. Personality and Individual Differences, 21, 165–174.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perspective: A valid, reliable individual-difference metric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1271–1288.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lisa G. Aspinwall.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Aspinwall, L.G. The Psychology of Future-Oriented Thinking: From Achievement to Proactive Coping, Adaptation, and Aging. Motiv Emot 29, 203–235 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-006-9013-1

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-006-9013-1

KEY WORDS:

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