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Approach-avoidance conflict

Definition:
Conflict involving a decision regarding whether to pursue or avoid something that has both positive and negative aspects to it.
 
Example:
Tanya has been with Company X for 12 years. She is offered a job promotion as vice president of the company. It would pay her much more than she is currently making (approach). However, if she was to accept this position, she would have to move to a city that was far away from her extended family (avoidance) and where the weather was much colder (avoidance).
 
Background:
These types of conflicts are fairly common and provoke a significant level of stress. In these types of situations, people tend to vacilate, going back and forth between decisions. They are sometimes referred to as a "mixed blessing" because you have to accept some negative and some positive features no matter which choice is made.
 
Further Reading:

Lewin, K. (1935). A dynamic theory of personality. New York: McGraw Hill.

Miller, N. E. (1944). Experimental studies of conflict. In J. M. Hunt (Ed), Personality and the behaviour disorders. (Vol 1.). New York: Ronald.

 
Related Terms:
Approach-approach conflict

Avoidance-avoidance conflict

Conflict

Self-Instructional Resources:
Take a 1-item self-test over this concept.

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