The important role of the context in which achievement goals are adopted: an experimental test
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Two experimental studies using Elliot, Murayama, and Pekrun’s (Journal of Educational Psychology 103(3):632–648, 2011) differentiation between self-goals and task-goals, were conducted to examine the relative influence of achievement goals and motivational contexts on behavioral and emotional engagement. In Study 1, 133 college students were prompted to adopt self-goals (intrapersonal standards) or other-goals (performance standards) in one of two motivational contexts (autonomy-supportive or autonomy-suppressive) while playing a computer game. In Study 2, 129 college students performed the same assignment, this time adopting either other-goals or task-goals (absolute standards). Study 1 indicated that autonomy-support facilitated behavioral and emotional engagement in autonomy suppressive contexts, but self-goals merely promoted emotional engagement relative to other-goals. Study 2 replicated Study 1’s findings by showing that autonomy support promoted self-reported behavioral engagement and task-goals promoted emotional engagement but further revealed that only when task-goals were adopted in an autonomy-supportive context did they promote better behavioral engagement than other-goals. Thus, Study 2 highlighted the importance of the context in which the achievement goals were adopted (i.e., autonomy-supportive versus suppressive) as an important determinant of the outcome.
KeywordsAchievement goal theory Autonomy support Goal complex Behavioral engagement Emotional engagement
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Human and animal participants
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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