Effectance Motivation: A Practical Outcome of Attachment-Focused Integrative Reminiscence


  • Myra Sabir


The classic indicator of secure attachment in infancy and childhood is exploration of the environment. This is no less true in adulthood; however, researchers have substituted the term “effectance motivation†for exploratory behavior following earned secure attachment. The term refers to “natural approach-based motivational tendencies†that result in effective interactions with the environment. Earned secure adults demonstrate a shift from an avoidance-oriented achievement motivation profile in achievement settings to a more appetitive, effectance-like achievement motivation profile in these settings and are less hesitant to investigate matters of concern, to master techniques or skills, or to engage fully in their environments in general. This article presents a case study from a larger narrative intervention in which it was hypothesized that the participant would demonstrate new levels of effectance motivation following an attachment-focused integrative reminiscence (AFIR) intervention. Through the case study methodology, the reader can ascertain the mental life of the participant, which cannot be captured in quantitative or objective ways. It gives the reader access, to some extent, to the phenomenology of the shift in attitude from an avoidance orientation to an effectance orientation as it unfolds in this particular human story. A comparison between pre-intervention and post-intervention evaluations shows clear evidence of increased effectance motivation in the work environment following the AFIR intervention. Future research is needed to establish that it is the AFIR intervention that causes the beneficial effect observed in the present study.