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Cognitive Avoidance

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Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences


Avoidance; Avoidance coping; Avoidance motivation; Avoidance goals


Approach and avoidance represent two fundamental aspects of motivation that guide human behavior. Approach-oriented motivation often guides behavior toward positive or desirable events or outcomes, whereas avoidance-oriented motivation guides behavior away from negative or undesirable events or outcomes. Conceptualized as orientations that underlie aspects of personality and drive stress-coping efforts, the proclivity to approach is considered adaptive and associated with positive psychological and physical health outcomes, while the proclivity to avoid is associated with negative health outcomes and considered maladaptive. These two motivational tendencies can be further delineated into the affective, cognitive, and behavioral methods used to approach or avoid a situation. Cognitive avoidance is a term that represents several strategies, such as distraction, worry, and thought suppression, aimed at...

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Correspondence to Sara J. Sagui-Henson .

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Sagui-Henson, S.J. (2017). Cognitive Avoidance. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

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