WASSUP (Willingly Approached Set of Statistically Unlikely Pursuits)

The Willingly Approached Set of Statistically Unlikely Pursuits (WASSUP) is a measure of the tendency to set implausibly high goals. This measure was developed in collaboration with my colleague Sheri Johnson, who studies bipolar disorder. This measure was intended to investigate the question of whether persons vulnerable to mania set unrealistic goals. It has seven factorially derived scales, pertaining to goals in different life domains. In several different studies using this measure we have found associations between diagnosed mania and hypomania (on the one hand) with reports of setting highly ambitious goals for popular fame (always), financial success (sometimes), and political influence (sometimes).

Carver, C. S., & Johnson, S. L. (2009). Tendencies toward mania and tendencies toward depression have distinct motivational, affective, and cognitive correlates. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 552-569.   [abstract]

Johnson, S. L., Eisner, L. R., & Carver, C. S. (2009). Elevated expectancies among persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 48, 217-222.   [abstract]

Johnson, S. L., & Carver, C. S. (2006). Extreme goal setting nd vulnerability to mania among undiagnosed young adults. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30, 377-395.     [abstract]

Here is how we administer the WASSUP here, followed by scoring instructions:

For each item on this page, choose the answer (from the choices just below) that best reflects how likely you are to set that as a goal for yourself. Code that answer onto your answer sheet

    1 = NO CHANCE I will set this goal for myself
    2 = Slight chance I will set this goal for myself
    3 = Moderate chance I will set this goal for myself
    4 = Very good chance I will set this goal for myself
    5 = Definitely WILL set this goal for myself

1.    celebrities will want to be your friends.
2.    each day of your work will be fulfilling.
3.    everyone you know will love you.
4.    someone will write a book about your life.
5.    whenever you have a problem, your friends will drop what they are doing to support you.
6.    you will appear regularly on TV.
7.    you will be famous.
8.    you will be important in political circles.
9.    you will be on a magazine list of the sexiest people alive.
10.    you will be president of your country.
11.    you will create a great work of art, music, or poetry.
12.    you will create world peace.
13.    you will develop a TV show or a movie.
14.    you will do only things you really like to do, and nothing else.
15.    you will enjoy every day to the max.
16.    you will have 10 close friends.
17.    you will have 100 friends.
18.    you will have 20 million dollars or more.
19.    you will have 40 close friends.
20.    you will have a major role in a movie.
21.    you will have a million dollars or more.
22.    you will have more than 50 lovers in your lifetime.
23.    you will have the closest family relationships imaginable.
24.    you will run a Fortune 500 company.
25.    you will self-actualize or reach Nirvana.
26.    you will stop world hunger.
27.    you will write a popular book.
28.    your children will see you as the perfect parent.
29.    your partner relationship will be sheer bliss for years.
30.    your relationship will be more romantic than Romeo and Juliet

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Items 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, and 20 = popular fame
Items 15, 23, 28, 29, and 30 = partner and family
Items 12 and 26 = world well-being
Items 8 and 10 = political influence
Items 3, 5, 16, 17, 19  = friends
Items 18, 21, 22, and 24 = financial success
Items 2, 11, 14, 25, and 27 = creation/fulfillment

Carver Home

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology