Autonomous and controlled reasons underlying self-approach and self-avoidance goals and educational outcomes

Abstract

Based on the new 3 × 2 achievement goal model, the first purpose of this prospective research was to examine the relation of self-approach and self-avoidance goals to four educational outcomes, namely intentions of dropping out, educational satisfaction, self-efficacy, and achievement. We also considered the autonomous and controlled reasons underlying these self-based goals in order to investigate whether self-approach and self-avoidance goals, as well as their underlying reasons, related to outcomes. Data was collected from 330 students, at two time points. Our findings showed that self-approach and self-avoidance goals did not explain changes in outcomes, with the exception of the significant relationship between self-avoidance goals and educational satisfaction. The present results also revealed that the autonomous and controlled motivations underlying achievement goals were more strongly related to changes in all four educational outcomes than was the endorsement of goals themselves. Theoretical implications and research perspectives are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Gaudreau (2012) recently showed that performance-approach goals were associated with greater performance, yet solely for students whose reasons to pursue these goals were autonomous. For exploratory purposes, we thus added two-way interaction terms between autonomous and controlled regulations, and achievement goal strength in Step 3, to determine if some of the relationships of self-approach and self-avoidance goals to educational outcomes were moderated by their underlying levels of autonomous and controlled motivations. According to Aiken and West’s (1991) procedures, predictors were centered before calculating the interaction products. The addition of the two-way interaction terms between regulations and goal strength in Step 3 did not increase explained variance in the four outcomes.

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Correspondence to Nicolas Gillet.

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Gillet, N., Huyghebaert, T., Barrault, S. et al. Autonomous and controlled reasons underlying self-approach and self-avoidance goals and educational outcomes. Soc Psychol Educ 20, 179–193 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-017-9368-z

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Keywords

  • Achievement goal theory
  • Self-determination theory
  • College students
  • Educational satisfaction
  • Achievement