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Focusing too much on individualistic achievement may generate stress and negative emotion: Social rank theory perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Wai S. Tse, Alyson J. Bond

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Published1 Jan 2019

King's Authors


Individualistic achievement personality has been found to increase personal resources and reduce negative emotions. Whether individualistic achievement is protective against stress or negative emotion or indeed stress generating remains uncertain. The present study examined three models proposed to explain the interrelationship between individualistic achievement, personal resources, daily stress, and negative emotion. One hundred eighteen volunteers (aged 18–59 years; 39 males) were recruited from the community. On the first day of the study, they received copies of a questionnaire measuring daily stress to complete for the next 14 days. On the last day of the study, they filled in questionnaires measuring positive and negative affect, depression, social functioning and individualistic achievement personality. Individualistic achievement was significantly associated with positive affect and social functioning but not with negative affect, depression, and average daily stress. Structural equation modeling analysis showed a significant fit for a model indicating that individualistic achievement personality scores would be positively associated with both personal resources and daily stress, and subsequently personal resources would be negatively associated with negative emotion and daily stress positively associated with negative emotion. Individualistic achievement may be related to both advantages and disadvantages. Further investigation of the nature of individualistic achievement is warranted.

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