Research has found inconsistent relationships between goal conflict and distress. In the present research, the interaction of conflict between goals and ambivalence about goals was a significant predictor of depression symptoms in 120 students. Depression symptoms were highest in individuals with low levels of conflict and high levels of ambivalence. Considering the interaction between goal conflict and psychological distress reveals a new interpretation of their relationship with psychological distress. It is concluded that ambivalence is most distressing when individuals' goals do not make conflicting demands on resources, as this ambivalence is likely to result from deeper-rooted, less conscious motivational conflict.
- Goal conflict