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a psychological state marked by oppressive tension, anxiety, a feeling of no way out, and despair. Frustration arises in a situation perceived by the personality as an irreversible threat to the attainment of a goal important for the satisfaction of certain needs. The degree of frustration depends both on the importance of the action being blocked and on the nearness of the goal being sought. Reaction to a state of frustration may include any of the basic types of “substituting” actions. A person might “escape” from the real situation into the realm of fantasies, dreams, and visions; in other words, there may be a transition to action in some “magical” world. Aggressive tendencies may appear, manifesting themselves in restrained forms, such as irritability, or breaking through in the form of anger. A general “regression” of behavior may be observed, including a transition to less demanding and more primitive modes of action and frequent job changes.
Frustration frequently leads to a residual lack of confidence and a fixation on the modes of action employed in the situation of frustration. Frustration is often a source of neuroses. Of special importance (primarily from the point of view of applied problems) has been the assumption in present-day psychology of the problem of a person’s “endurance” (staying power) with regard to frustration.
REFERENCESEksperimental’naia psikhologiia, vol. 5. Edited and compiled by P. Fraisse and J. Piaget. Moscow, 1975. (Translated from French.)
Rosenzweig, S. “An Outline of Frustration Theory.” In Personality and the Behavior Disorders, vol. 1. New York, 1946.
Frustration and Aggression. New Haven–London, 1949.
Lawson, R. Frustration. New York, 1965.