Mental Contrasting of Future and Reality: Managing the Demands of Everyday Life in Health Care Professionals

Gabriele Oettingen, Doris Mayer, Babette Brinkmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mental contrasting of a desired future with present reality leads to expectancy-dependent goal commitments, whereas focusing on the desired future only makes people commit to goals regardless of their high or low expectations for success. In the present brief intervention we randomly assigned middle-level managers (N = 52) to two conditions. Participants in one condition were taught to use mental contrasting regarding their everyday concerns, while participants in the other condition were taught to indulge. Two weeks later, participants in the mental-contrasting condition reported to have fared better in managing their time and decision making during everyday life than those in the indulging condition. By helping people to set expectancy-dependent goals, teaching the metacognitive strategy of mental contrasting can be a cost- and time-effective tool to help people manage the demands of their everyday life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personnel Psychology
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Goals
  • Health care professionals
  • Mental contrasting
  • Motivation
  • Self-regulation
  • Thinking about the future
  • Time management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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