Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 675–687 | Cite as

The why and how of goal pursuits: Effects of global autonomous motivation and perceived control on emotional well-being

  • E. Gaëlle HortopEmail author
  • Carsten WroschEmail author
  • Marylène Gagné
Original Paper


This study examined the effects of global autonomous motivation and global perceived control on young adults’ adaptive goal striving and emotional well-being. We reasoned that autonomously motivated participants who also perceive high levels of control would make accelerated progress with the pursuit of their most important goal and experience associated increases in emotional well-being. By contrast, we predicted that these benefits of autonomous motivation would be reduced among participants who perceive low levels of control. A 6-month longitudinal study of 125 college students was conducted, and self-reported global autonomous motivation, global perceived control, progress towards the most important goal, and emotional well-being were assessed. Regression analyses showed that the combination of high baseline levels of global autonomous motivation and global perceived control was associated with accelerated goal progress after 6 months, which mediated 6-month increases in emotional well-being. These benefits were not apparent among autonomously motivated participants who perceived low levels of control. The study’s findings suggest that global autonomous motivation and perceived control may need to work together to foster adaptive goal striving and emotional well-being.


Autonomous motivation Perceived control Goal attainment Emotional well-being 



The completion of this study was supported by a grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada awarded to Carsten Wrosch, and graduate fellowships from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Fonds de la recherche sur la société et la culture, Québec, awarded to E. Gaëlle Hortop.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Centre for Research in Human DevelopmentConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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