The behavioral inhibition system (BIS), behavioral approach system (BAS), and fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS) are motivational systems that guide people's behavior. Motivational systems may be relevant to contexts of interpersonal communication, specifically those requiring social support. In these situations, people express preferences for approaching versus avoiding and emotion versus problem-focused comfort. This paper links people's preferences for supportive strategies with their motivational systems. 335 participants reported their preferences for different strategies of social support and their motivational system orientations. As expected, BAS was associated with preferences for involving, problem-focused support. BIS, BAS, and FFFS were significantly associated with emotion-focused support, and FFFS was negatively associated with comfort that downplays affect. The motivational systems interact when manifesting associations with preferences for support strategies, and the BAS reward responsiveness subscale emerged as the most influential BAS subscale. These results indicate that BIS, BAS, and FFFS influence people's preferences in contexts of interpersonal communication.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology