Goal conflict and ambivalence interact to predict depression

Rebecca E. Kelly, Warren Mansell, Alex M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-534
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambivalence
  • Depression
  • Goal conflict
  • Interaction


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