Solving interpersonal problems when fatigued: The beneficial effect of positive mood

Donna Webster Nelson1
1Department of Psychology, Winthrop University
Cite this article:  Nelson, D. (2018). Solving interpersonal problems when fatigued: The beneficial effect of positive mood. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46, 1489-1498.

Volume 46 Issue 9 | e7497 | Published: September 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7497

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I examined factors that inhibit and augment effective problem solving in social contexts. I tested the joint effect of mental fatigue and mood on interpersonal problem solving. Utilizing scenario-based tests, I found that individuals experiencing high (vs. low) mental fatigue generated less effective solutions to social problems, and identified fewer relevant steps to solve these problems. I also found that the experience of positive emotion served to counteract these fatigue-induced deficits, bolstering mental resources needed for productive social problem solving. My results also have practical relevance, as the extent to which individuals can generate effective strategies to overcome interpersonal problems has far-reaching consequences with respect to personal adjustment and the ability to enact socially skilled behavior.

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