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Annoyance; Dissatisfaction; Foiling; Hindrance; Interference; Obstruction; Thwarting; Vexation


Frustration is a key negative emotion that roots in disappointment (Latin frustrā or “in vain”) and can be defined as irritable distress after a wish collided with an unyielding reality.

A Functional Perspective

The experience of brief and intense emotions is an integral component of our everyday conduct. Emotions influence how we make decisions and navigate our worlds, via bodily changes that prompt us to action. Frustration is a key negative emotion that roots in disappointment and can be defined as irritable distress in response to limitation, exclusion, and failure (a state of dissatisfied insecurity). Frustration elicits negative affect to signal that interests and interactions must be adjusted, and emotional tension or “arousal” to instigate defensive or aggressive behavioral responses, such as strive to reduce or eliminate the blocking agent or circumstances.



  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
  • Frustration Intolerance
  • Proactive Aggression
  • Irritable Distress
  • Stressful Social Events

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Correspondence to Bertus F. Jeronimus .

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Jeronimus, B.F., Laceulle, O.M. (2017). Frustration. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

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