Comfort Zone Orientation: Moving Beyond One’s Comfort Zone



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Although people often talk about behaviors or experiences being “out of their comfort zone,” no research has examined the relationship between people’s comfort zones and how they react to situations that fall outside them. Three studies examined comfort zones and the value that some people place on pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, termed comfort zone orientation (CZO). Study 1 showed that people are able to answer questions about their comfort zones and that comfort zones are related to the emotions that people expect to experience in threatening situations. Study 2 validated a measure of CZO, showing that correlations between CZO and personality measures were consistent with its conceptualization. Study 3 was a laboratory experiment that revealed that CZO related to participants’ responses to an actual anxiety-producing task and that participants who valued pushing themselves out of their comfort zone were more confident that they could make themselves perform a threatening task. This research extends our understanding of the psychological basis of comfort zones and demonstrates that the Comfort Zone Orientation Scale is a valid measure of the degree to which people value pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.





Kiknadze, Nona (2018). Comfort Zone Orientation: Moving Beyond One’s Comfort Zone. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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