Tiba, Alexandru; Szentagotai, Aurora
March 2005
Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies;Mar2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
Since negative affect has been in the focus of attention for the entire history of psychotherapy, time has now come to turn towards cognitive factors involved in mild disturbances of positive affect. This article focuses on dysfunctional positive emotions and how they relate to evaluative cognitions and arousal. One of the basic assumptions of the rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) theory of emotions is that irrational beliefs lead to both positive and negative dysfunctional emotions. To date there is no empirical data investigating dysfunctional positive emotions and their relations to different types of irrational beliefs in healthy individuals. 35 subjects participated in this study. They were asked to recall a positive event in two conditions: a) pre-goal attainment condition, prompted by the instruction of recalling an event when a cue primed the anticipation of goal attainment and b) post-goal attainment condition prompted by the instruction of recalling an event and their reactions after they have met an important goal. After each experimental condition, participants completed questionnaires assessing, pre-goal and post-goal attainment positive emotions, arousal, dysfunctional positive inferences, context inappropriateness of the emotional experience, evaluative cognitions, and the ABS II scale-Romanian version. Results indicate that subjects high on demandingness have higher levels of pre-goal attainment emotions than low demanding subjects when they meet their goals, and possibly a higher level of post-goal positive emotions, when they anticipate attaining a personal goal. Also it seems that state and trait demandingness have different relations with positive emotions. We suggest that dysfunctional positive emotions can be differentiated by the context in which they are experienced, and that there are two types of dysfunctional positive emotions: a) post-goal attainment dysfunctional positive emotions referring to high levels of pre-goal attainment positive emotions after achieving personal goals, and b) pre-goal attainment dysfunctional positive emotions referring to high levels of post-goal attainment positive emotions when anticipating and moving towards goal attainment. Correlation analysis has revealed relations between evaluative cognitions, dysfunctional inferences, arousal, and dysfunctional positive emotions. Implications for positive emotions research and psychotherapy are discussed.


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