Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 49–62 | Cite as

Antecedents of everyday positive emotions: An experience sampling analysis

  • Thomas GoetzEmail author
  • Anne C. Frenzel
  • Heidrun Stoeger
  • Nathan C. Hall
Original Paper


The focus of this study is on everyday positive emotions and their relations to critical appraisal antecedents. Following from classical appraisal theory and Pekrun’s (2006) control-value theory of achievement emotions, two research questions were addressed, namely whether cognitive appraisals of control and value were related to discrete positive emotions in everyday situations and whether control and value antecedents interact in predicting these emotions. We further investigated whether control/value and positive emotion relations changed as a function of situational factors (achievement vs. non-achievement settings). 50 university freshmen (78% female) were assessed by use of the experience sampling method for a period of 1 week, with intraindividual analyses conducted using a multilevel, idiographic approach. Consistent with our hypotheses, the emotions of enjoyment, pride, and contentment were positively related to control and value appraisals. Further, control and value interacted to predict these positive emotions. The strength of appraisal/positive emotion relations was equivalent across achievement vs. non-achievement settings. Implications for future research are discussed.


Emotion Appraisal Control Value Enjoyment Pride Contentment Experience sampling method 


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Alloy, L. B., & Abramson, L. Y. (1979). Judgment of contingency in depressed and nondepressed students: Sadder but wiser? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 108, 441–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alloy, L. B., & Clements, C. M. (1992). Illusion of control: Invulnerability to negative affect and depressive symptoms after laboratory and natural stressors. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 234–245.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnold, M. B. (1960). Emotion and personality. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Atkinson, J. W. (1964). An introduction to motivation. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist, 44, 1175–1184.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy. The experience of control. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
  10. Bergin, D. A. (1999). Influences on classroom interest. Educational Psychologist, 34, 87–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burger, J. M. (1989). Negative reactions to increases in perceived personal control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 246–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burke, M. J., Finkelstein, L. M., & Dusig, M. S. (1999). On average deviation indices for estimating interrater agreement. Organizational Research Methods, 2(1), 49–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clore, G. L. (1994). Why emotions require cognition. In P. Ekman & R. J. Davidson (Eds.), The nature of emotion (pp. 181–191). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., & Master, A. (2006). Reducing the racial achievement gap: A social-psychological intervention. Science, 313, 1307–1310.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Covington, M. V. (1992). Making the grade: A self-worth perspective on motivation and school reform. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Larson, R. (1987). Validity and reliability of the experience-sampling method. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 9, 526–536.Google Scholar
  17. Foersterling, F. (1985). Attributional retraining: A review. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 495–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Foersterling, F. (1986). Attributional conceptions in clinical psychology. American Psychologist, 41, 275–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fraser, B. J., & Walker, S. L. (2005). Development and validation of an instrument for assessing distance education learning environments in higher education: The distance education learning environments survey (DELES). Learning Environments Research, 8, 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Frenzel, A. C., Goetz, T., Lüdtke, O., Pekrun, R., & Sutton, R. E. (2009). Emotional transmission in the classroom: Exploring the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 705–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frenzel, A. C., Pekrun, R., & Goetz, T. (2007a). Girls and mathematics—A “hopeless” issue? A control-value approach to gender differences in emotions towards mathematics. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22(4), 497–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frenzel, A. C., Thrash, T. M., Pekrun, R., & Goetz, T. (2007b). Achievement Emotions in Germany and China: A cross-cultural validation of the academic emotions questionnaire-mathematics (AEQ-M). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(3), 302–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goetz, T. (2004). Emotionales Erleben und selbstreguliertes Lernen bei Schülern im Fach Mathematik [Students’ emotions and self-regulated learning in mathematics]. Munich: Utz.Google Scholar
  25. Goetz, T., Frenzel, C. A., Hall, N. C., & Pekrun, R. (2008). Antecedents of academic emotions: Testing the internal/external frame of reference model for academic enjoyment. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 9–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goetz, T., Frenzel, C. A., Pekrun, R., Hall, N. C., & Lüdtke, O. (2007a). Between- and within-domain relations of students’ academic emotions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(4), 715–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goetz, T., Pekrun, R., Hall, N. C., & Haag, L. (2006). Academic emotions from a social-cognitive perspective: Antecedents and domain specificity of students’ affect in the context of Latin instruction. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(2), 289–308.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Goetz, T., Preckel, F., Pekrun, R., & Hall, N. C. (2007b). Emotional experiences during test taking: Does cognitive ability make a difference? Learning and Individual Differences, 17, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hall, N. C., Perry, R. P., Chipperfield, J. G., Clifton, R. A., & Haynes, T. L. (2006). Enhancing primary and secondary control in achievement settings through writing-based attributional retraining. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25, 361–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hall, N. C., Perry, R. P., Goetz, T., Ruthig, J. C., Stupnisky, R. H., & Newall, N. E. (2007). Attributional retraining and elaborative learning: Improving academic development through writing-based interventions. Learning and Individual Differences, 17(3), 280–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Heckhausen, H. (1977). Achievement motivation and its constructs: A cognitive model. Motivation and Emotion, 1, 283–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hektner, J. M., Schmidt, J. A., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). Experience sampling method: Measuring the quality of everyday life. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Henson, H. N., & Chang, E. C. (1998). Locus of control and the fundamental dimensions of moods. Psychological Reports, 82, 1335–1338.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Hiebert, E. H. (1994). Becoming literate through authentic tasks: Evidence and adaptations. In H. Singer, R. B. Ruddell, & M. R. Ruddell (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  35. Hoffart, A., & Martisen, E. W. (1990). Agoraphobia, depression, mental health locus of control, and attributional styles. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 343–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hox, J. J. (2002). Multilevel analysis: Techniques and applications. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  37. Lamiell, J. T. (1998). ‘Nomothetic’ and ‘idiographic’: Contrasting Windelband’s understanding with contemporary usage. Theory & Psychology, 8(1), 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaption. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lazarus, R. S. (1995). Vexing research problems inherent in cognitive-mediational theories of emotion and some solutions. Psychological Inquiry, 6, 183–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lefcourt, H. M. (Ed.). (1983). Research with the locus of control construct: Vol 2. Developments and social problems. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  41. Levenson, H. (1973). Perceived parental antecedents of internal, powerful others, and chance locus of control orientations. Developmental Psychology, 9, 260–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Long, G. (1991). Epictetus: The Enchiridion (chapter 5). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  43. Luedtke, O., Trautwein, U., Kunter, M., & Baumert, J. (2006). Reliability and agreement of student ratings of the classroom environment: A reanalysis of TIMSS data. Learning Environments Research, 9, 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marsh, H. W., & Ayotte, V. (2003). Do multiple dimensions of self-concept become more differentiated with age? The differential distinctiveness hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 687–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marsh, H. W., & Rowe, K. J. (1996). The negative effects of school-average ability on academic self-concept: An application of multilevel modelling. Australian Journal of Education, 40, 65–87.Google Scholar
  46. Nezlek, J. B., Vansteelandt, K., Mechelen, I. V., & Kuppens, P. (2008). Appraisal-emotion relationships in daily life. Emotion, 8(1), 145–150.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Pekrun, R. (2000). A social-cognitive, control-value theory of achievement emotions. In J. Heckhausen (Ed.), Motivational psychology of human development (pp. 143–163). Oxford: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: Assumptions, corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice. Educational Psychology Review, 18, 315–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Daniels, L. M., Stupnisky, R. H., & Perry, R. P. (2009). Boredom in achievement settings: Exploring appraisal antecedents and performance outcomes of a neglected emotion. Journal of Educational Psychology (in press).Google Scholar
  50. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R. P. (2002a). Academic emotions in students’ self-regulated learning and achievement: A program of qualitative and quantitative research. Educational Psychologist, 37(2), 91–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R. P. (2002b). Positive emotions in education. In E. Frydenberg (Ed.), Beyond coping: Meeting goals, visions, and challenges (pp. 149–174). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  52. Perry, R. P., Hall, N. C., & Ruthig, J. C. (2007). Perceived (academic) control and scholastic attainment in college students. In R. P. Perry & J. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 477–551). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models. Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Raudenbush, S. W., Bryk, A., & Congdon, R. (2007). HLM 6.04. Hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Lincolnwood: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  55. Roseman, I. J. (2001). A model of appraisal in the emotion system: Integrating theory, research and applications. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion (pp. 68–91). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Roseman, I. J., Antoniou, A. A., & Jose, P. E. (1996). Appraisal determinants of emotions: Constructing a more accurate and comprehensive theory. Cognition and Emotion, 10, 241–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Roseman, I. J., & Smith, C. A. (2001). Appraisal theory: Overview, assumptions, varieties, controversies. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion (pp. 3–19). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Roseman, I. J., Spindel, M. S., & Jose, P. E. (1990). Appraisals of emotion-eliciting events: Testing a theory of discrete emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 899–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rost, D. H., & Schermer, F. J. (1987). Emotion and cognition in coping with test anxiety. Communication and Cognition, 20, 225–244.Google Scholar
  60. Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1) (Whole No. 609).Google Scholar
  61. Scherer, K. R. (1984). On the nature and function of emotion: A component process approach. In K. R. Scherer & P. Ekman (Eds.), Approaches to emotion (pp. 293–317). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  62. Scherer, K. R. (Ed.). (1988). Facets of emotion. Recent research. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  63. Scherer, K. R. (2001). Appraisal considered as a process of multilevel sequential checking. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion (pp. 92–120). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Scherer, K. R., Schorr, A., & Johnstone, T. (Eds.). (2001). Appraisal processes in emotion. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Scherer, K. R., Wranik, T., Sangsue, J., Tran, V., & Scherer, U. (2004). Emotions in everyday life: Probability of risk factors, appraisal and reaction patterns. Social Science Information, 43, 499–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Skinner, E. A. (1985). Action, control judgments, and the structure of control experience. Psychological Review, 92, 39–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Skinner, E. A. (1996). A guide to constructs of control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(3), 549–570.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Skinner, E. A., Edge, K., Altman, J., & Sherwood, H. (2003). Searching for the structure of coping: A review and critique of category systems for classifying ways of coping. Psychological Bulletin, 129(2), 216–269.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Smith, C. A., & Ellsworth, P. C. (1985). Patterns of cognitive appraisal in emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 813–838.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Smith, C. A., Haynes, K. N., Lazarus, R. S., & Pope, L. K. (1993). In search of the “hot” cognitions: Attributions, appraisals, and their relations to emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 916–929.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Spacks, P. M. (1995). Boredom: The literary history of a state of mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  73. Stumpf, C. (1899). Über den Begriff der Gemüthsbewegung [On the concept of emotion]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, 44, 1–49.Google Scholar
  74. Tong, E. M. W., Bishop, G. D., Enkelmann, H. C., Why, Y. P., Diong, S. M., Khader, M., et al. (2005). The use of ecological momentary assessment to test appraisal theories of emotion. Emotion, 5(4), 508–512.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Tong, E. M. W., Bishop, G. D., Enkelmann, H. C., Why, Y. P., Diong, S. M., Khader, M., et al. (2007). Emotion and appraisal: A study using ecological momentary assessment. Cognition and Emotion, 21(7), 1361–1381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wanous, J. P., Reichers, A. E., & Hudy, M. J. (1997). Overall job satisfaction: How good are single-item measures? Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(2), 247–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion. Psychological Review, 92(4), 548–573.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Zeidner, M., & Endler, N. (Eds.). (1996). Handbook of coping. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Goetz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anne C. Frenzel
    • 3
  • Heidrun Stoeger
    • 4
  • Nathan C. Hall
    • 5
  1. 1.University of KonstanzConstanceGermany
  2. 2.Thurgau University of Teacher EducationThurgauSwitzerland
  3. 3.University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.University of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  5. 5.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations