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When the going gets tough: the “Why” of goal striving matters

Ntoumanis, Nikos and Healy, Laura C. and Sedikides, Constantine and Duda, Joan and Stewart, Brandon and Smith, Alison and Bond, Johanna (2013) When the going gets tough: the “Why” of goal striving matters. Journal of Personality. n/a-n/a. ISSN 00223506

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12047

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1111/jopy.12047

No prior research has examined how motivation for goal striving influences persistence in the face of increasing goal difficulty. This research examined the role of self-reported (Study 1) and primed (Study 2) autonomous and controlled motives in predicting objectively-assessed persistence during the pursuit of an increasingly difficult goal.

In Study 1, 100 British athletes (64 males; Mage = 19.89 years, SDage = 2.43) pursued a goal of increasing difficulty on a cycle-ergometer. In Study 2, 90 British athletes (43 males; Mage = 19.63 years, SDage = 1.14) engaged in the same task, but their motivation was primed by asking them to observe a video of an actor describing her/his involvement in an unrelated study.

In Study 1 self-reported autonomous goal motives predicted goal persistence via challenge appraisals and task-based coping. In contrast, controlled goal motives predicted threat appraisals and disengagement coping which, in turn, was a negative predictor of persistence. In Study 2 primed autonomous (compared to controlled) goal motives predicted greater persistence, positive affect, and future interest for task engagement.

The findings underscore the importance of autonomous motivation for behavioral investment in the face of increased goal difficulty.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2013 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Wiley-Blackwell
ID Code:1375
Refereed:YES
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