Longitudinal Associations and Mechanisms Between Achievement Goals and Subjective Well-Being in School in Chinese Adolescents

Abstract

Based on the interplay between achievement goals theory and social comparison theory, our study focused on how achievement goals relate to subjective well-being in the school context in Chinese adolescents. Specifically, we addressed a theoretical model that specified that academic social comparisons and self-esteem would serve as mediators in the relation between achievement goals and subjective well-being in school in Chinese adolescents. At baseline, the sample included 894 students (461 girls and 433 boys) from grade 7. Students completed multiple self-report measures on three occasions at 1-year intervals. The findings from structural equation modeling analyses revealed that mastery goals, but not performance goals, displayed statistically significant indirect effects on subjective well-being in school successively via academic social comparisons and self-esteem. The results are discussed with respect to their implications for research and interventions in schools.

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31971005), Humanities Social Sciences Research Planning Foundation from Ministry of Education, 2015 (No. 15YJA190003), the MOE Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Universities, 2016 (No. 16JJD190002), and “13th Five-Year” Plan of Philosophy and Social Science Development in Guangzhou, 2018 (No. 2018GZGJ22).

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Zhou, J., Huebner, E.S. & Tian, L. Longitudinal Associations and Mechanisms Between Achievement Goals and Subjective Well-Being in School in Chinese Adolescents. School Mental Health 12, 353–365 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-019-09356-8

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Keywords

  • Achievement goals
  • Academic social comparisons
  • Self-esteem
  • Subjective well-being in school
  • Adolescents