Adaptive versus maladaptive emotional tension.

V. S. Rotenberg, W. Boucsein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The problem of emotional tension is usually discussed only with regard to its negative (maladaptive) aspects. The positive (adaptive) function of emotional tension, however, is as important as its negative function. In this article, we have examined psychophysiological outcomes of adaptive versus maladaptive emotional tension with respect to opposite forms of behavior (search activity and renunciation of search) that have an opposite outcome on body resistance and performance. Some traditional psychophysiological problems, for example, the law of initial values (Wilder, 1931), the difference between orienting and defensive reaction, or between anxiety and panic behavior, are revised on the basis of the assumption of adaptive and maladaptive emotional tension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-232
Number of pages24
JournalGenetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes


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