Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 483–498

Proximal goal-setting and self-regulatory processes

  • Jennifer Stock
  • Daniel Cervone

DOI: 10.1007/BF01172969

Cite this article as:
Stock, J. & Cervone, D. Cogn Ther Res (1990) 14: 483. doi:10.1007/BF01172969


Despite much theoretical discussion, relatively little research has examined the motivational effects of proximal goal-setting, and existing findings are inconsistent. This experiment examines the effects of proximal subgoals on perceived self-efficacy, self-evaluative reactions to performance, and task persistence. Subjects performed a complex problem-solving task under conditions involving either no subgoal, an attainable subgoal, or an unattainable subgoal. The self-regulatory processes were assessed prior to and during performance. Setting a subgoal boosted initial perceived self-efficacy. Attaining the proximal goal increased self-efficacy perceptions, self-satisfaction with performance, and subsequent task persistence. Changes in perceived self-efficacy mediated the effects of subgoal attainment on behavior.

Key words

proximal goal-settingself-regulationmotivationself-efficacyself-evaluation

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Stock
    • 1
  • Daniel Cervone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA