Adaptive Self-Regulation of Unattainable Goals: Goal Disengagement, Goal Reengagement, and Subjective Well-Being

Carsten Wrosch, Michael F. Scheier, Gregory E. Miller, Richard Schulz, Charles S Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

485 Scopus citations


Three studies examined associations between goal disengagement, goal reengagement, and subjective well-being. In Study 1, 115 undergraduates reported on the extent to which they were able to abandon unattainable goals and reengage their efforts in alternative goals. Study 2 examined the importance of goal disengagement and goal reengagement in groups of young adults and older adults (N = 120). In Study 3, a sample of parents of children with cancer and parents of medically healthy children was examined (N = 45). The findings confirmed that goal disengagement and goal reengagement can be associated with ratings of high subjective well-being. In addition, the results showed that goal disengagement and goal reengagement can have interactive effects on subjective well-being. The importance of the findings for effective self-regulation and successful development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1508
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003



  • Disengagement
  • Goal adjustment
  • Goals
  • Self-regulation
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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