Objective: The dispositional inability to self-regulate one's own emotions intuitively is described as state orientation and has been associated with numerous psychological impairments. The necessity to search for buffering effects against negative outcomes of state orientation is evident. Research suggests that state-oriented individuals can benefit from feeling close to others. Yet, there are individual differences in the extent to which supportive relationships are valued. The objective of the present article was to examine whether high importance of relatedness increases the utilization of its situational activation among state-oriented individuals. Method: In two studies, we examined whether situational activation of relatedness (by priming for similarities with a close other) is particularly advantageous for state-oriented individuals who attach high importance to relatedness (i.e., benevolence values). The sample consisted of 170 psychology undergraduates in Study 1 and 177 in Study 2. Results: In both studies, state-oriented participants high in benevolence had reduced negative mood after thinking about similarities (vs. differences). State-oriented participants low in benevolence did not benefit from priming for similarities. In Study 2, physical presence of a close other did not boost priming effects for state-oriented participants but stimulated action-oriented participants to attune their self-regulatory efforts to the context. Conclusions: The results show that state-oriented individuals who value benevolence do benefit from a situational activation of relatedness.
- personal values
- priming similarities
- State versus action orientation