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When is your partner willing to help you? The role of daily goal conflict and perceived gratitude

Abstract

Motivation to provide help might vary from day-to-day. Previous research showed that autonomously motivated help (i.e., helping because you enjoy/value this behavior), compared with controlled motivated help (i.e., helping because you feel you should do so), has beneficial effects for both the help provider and recipient. In a sample of chronic pain patients and partners (N = 64 dyads), this diary study examined whether (1) same- and prior day perceived gratitude (i.e., received appreciation for providing support) in partners and (2) same- and prior day goal conflicts in partners (i.e., amount of interference between helping one’s partner in pain and other goals) predicted partners’ helping motivation. Partners provided more autonomously motivated help on days that they perceived more gratitude from their partner and when they experienced less goal conflicts. Lagged analyses indicated that perceived gratitude (but not goal conflict) even predicted an increase in autonomous helping motivation the next day. Implications are discussed in the context of Self-Determination Theory.

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Notes

  1. Not all members of the FLFP were contacted for this particular study. The intended sample size for the HMDAL-study was 140 couples; the recruitment of participants was ended when this number was reached.

  2. Nine ICPs and 7 partners used the paper version of the diary.

  3. For the paper versions of the diary we relied on the date/time indicated by the participant.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Oana Bocaniala, Evelyne Carmen, Nele Decoene, Lieselot Telen and Elisabeth Verscheure for their help with data collection, the Flemish Pain League and the Flemish League for Fibromyalgia Patients for their assistance with recruiting participants. This research was supported by the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders (FWO), Grant Number G.0235.13N.

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Correspondence to Sara Kindt.

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Kindt, S., Vansteenkiste, M., Cano, A. et al. When is your partner willing to help you? The role of daily goal conflict and perceived gratitude. Motiv Emot 41, 671–682 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-017-9635-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-017-9635-5

Keywords

  • Helping motivation
  • Self-determination theory
  • Chronic pain couples
  • Gratitude
  • Goal conflict