Is endorsement of fear of happiness associated with behavioral aversion to reward?
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
AdvisorWiner, Eric Samuel
Armstrong, Kevin J.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 3 Years
Embargo Lift Date10000-01-01
Previous research suggests that some individuals have negative views about happiness and may actively avoid positivity due to associating it with previous negative experiences. The Approach-Avoidance Task (AAT) is a paradigm that examines approach and avoidance tendencies. However, the AAT has previously never been used to examine motivational tendencies in individuals who fear happiness. In this study, we used the AAT to examine if individuals who fear happiness respond aversively in the face of prospective positivity. Results revealed that the difference between the duration of pulling the joystick for both stimuli is negatively related to fear of happiness (FHS) such that individuals with higher FHS scores pulled the joystick for a shorter amount of time for positive stimuli than neutral. This suggests that individuals with a fear of happiness may exhibit aversive tendencies for positive information in comparison to neutral information, similar to that seen in depressed individuals.