Fitting motivational content and process: A systematic investigation of fit between value-framing and self-regulation

Karl-Andrew Woltin, Anat Bardi

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Objective: Values are often phrased as ideals that people seek to approach, but they can also be conceptualized as counter-ideals that people seek to avoid. We aimed to test whether individuals endorse more strongly values that are framed in line with their predominant self-regulatory motivation, using individual difference scales in promotion/prevention (Higgins, 1997) and in behavioral approach/inhibition (Carver & White, 1994). To address this systematically, we developed approach- and avoidance-framed versions of the Portrait Value Questionnaire-RR (PVQ-RR; Schwartz et al., 2012).
Method: Participants completed approach- and avoidance-framed PVQ-RR versions in two studies measuring regulatory focus or motivational orientation (together 423 USA adults, 48% female, ages 18-69) and one study manipulating motivational orientation (39 UK high school students, 79% female, ages 16-19).
Results: Value framing consistently interacted with both self-regulation variables. However, a fit between self-regulation and value framing resulted in greater value endorsement only for promotion-focused and approach-oriented (not prevention-focused and avoidance-oriented) participants. This may be because values are more naturally understood as ideal states that people seek to approach.
Conclusions: Our findings provide first insights into the psychological process of person–value framing fit affecting value endorsement. We discuss implications for cross-cultural value research and research on value-congruent behavior.  
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-989
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number6
Early online date28 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • values
  • approach
  • avoidance
  • regulatory focus
  • fit

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