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Using a within-person approach, we investigated the boundary conditions under which activating negative mood may promote or inhibit concurrent creative process engagement (CPE). Drawing on trait activation theory, we propose that dispositional goal orientation (learning goal orientation and avoidance goal orientation) will be expressed in response to trait-relevant work contexts (job control and psychological punishment respectively), thereby moderating the effects of activating negative mood on CPE. As expected, activating negative mood was positively associated with CPE when learning goal orientation and job control were both high. Activating negative mood was negatively related to CPE when learning goal orientation was high but job control was low. Further, activating negative mood had a positive relationship with CPE when both avoidance goal orientation and psychological punishment were low. Our results suggest the important role of congruence between person and environment in producing mood-creativity relationships. Integrating the interactionist and cross-level approaches, our study contributes to untangling some of the complexity surrounding the associations between negative mood and creativity.
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