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Approach-avoidance conflict

Definition

(psychology) A psychological conflict or a situation of indecision and vacillation when an individual is confronted with an event or an object that has desirable and undesirable qualities.


Supplement

Approach-avoidance conflict is one of the three major types of conflict described by psychologist Kurt Lewin in 1931. It is when an individual is indecisive and ambivalent in pursuing a desirable goal that has an undesirable outcome. For instance, a person wants to do something but fears the consequence it entails. This conflict is often the more difficult to resolve.


Compare: avoidance-avoidance conflict, approach-approach conflict.


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