An integrated model of achievement goals and self-regulated action: identifying domain, cultural and temporal effects
2014-06-12T15:35:45Z (GMT) by
The main purpose of this thesis was to investigate the fit between four achievement goals, personal goal attributes and self-regulation strategies, and the generalisation of goal-strategy patterns to (1) different life domains (academic and physical activity settings), (2) two cultures (individualistic/the UK and collectivistic/Romania) and (3) over time, in two contexts (academic and sport university settings) in the UK. Additionally, differences between high level English and Romanian athletes in self-construals (individualism versus collectivism), achievement goals and self-regulation processes was investigated in one study. Method. The participants in the four studies of this thesis were: English university students (N = 591; study 1), English university athletes and exercise participants (N = 294 and N = 288, respectively; study 2), English and Romanian elite/sub-elite athletes (N = 91, N = 109 respectively; study 3a), Romanian university students involved in sport at elite and sub-elite levels (N = 196; study 3b), and English university student-athletes (N= 295; study 4). Three main questionnaires were used: the Achievement Goals Questionnaire (AGQ; Elliot & McGregor, 2001) (studies 1, 3b, and 4) and the Achievement Goals Questionnaire for Sport (AGQ-S; Conroy, Elliot & Hofer, 2003) (studies 2, 3ab and 4) measured four achievement goals in academic and sport settings, respectively (mastery-approach, mastery-avoidance, performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals); the third questionnaire, the Goal Systems Assessment Battery (GSAB; Karoly & Ruehlman, 1995) (all studies) required participants to state their most important personal goal, and measured two goal attributes (efficacy and value) and five self-regulation strategies used during goal pursuit (planning, self-monitoring, social comparison, self-reward and self-criticism). The fourth questionnaire, was the Self-Construal Scale-Revised (SCS-R; Hardin, 2006) which measured individualistic and collectivistic self-definitions in study 3a. Studies 1, 2 and 3a and 3b employed a correlational design, structural equation modelling analyses, and multivariate and univariate analyses of covariance (study 3a only), while study 4 employed a longitudinal design, latent growth curve analyses and structural equation modelling. Studies 1 and 2 Results. The goal-strategy models identified in education (study 1), sport and exercise (study 2) in the UK were very similar to each other, and consisted of both positive and negative paths (see figure A overleaf). Furthermore, in study 1, the total sample was divided into two samples according to the difficulty and specificity of personal goals: students in sample 1 (N = 325) set easy and vague goals, while students in sample 2 (N = 266) set difficult and specific goals. The model found in the total sample was tested again simultaneous in these two samples in order to ascertain the potential moderation effects of goal difficulty and specificity. As the model was invariant across groups it was concluded that personal goal difficulty/specificity was not a moderator of achievement goal relations with self-regulation processes. Finally, in study 2 Map relations with planning/self-monitoring was fully and partially mediated by goal efficacy and value in the sport and exercise domains, respectively. Study 3a and 3b Results. In study 3a, Romanian athletes had higher collectivistic self-construals than English athletes, while the two groups were similar in individualism. After controlling for collectivism, Romanian athletes, regardless of sport type (individual or team sport) had higher scores than English athletes on Pap and Pav goals, social comparison and self-motivation strategies (self-reward and self-criticism); and Romanian team sport athletes had higher scores on Map and planning/self-monitoring than their English counterparts. In study 3b the goal-strategy models identified in moderately competitive academic and physical activity settings in an individualistic West European culture (UK) were tested in highly competitive academic and elite sport settings in a collectivistic East European culture (Romania). The academic and sport domain models identified in Romania were similar to each other, and to those found in the UK. The following differences in model paths were noted in Romania: in the academic domain, four paths were not significant (Map and Mav to efficacy, efficacy to self-reward, and social comparison to self-criticism); and a new negative path was identified, from Map to social comparison; in the sport domain, five paths were not significant (Mav to efficacy, Pap to efficacy and social comparison, efficacy to reward and social comparison to self-criticism) and three new paths emerged, two positive paths, Pav to social comparison, and efficacy to planning/self-monitoring, and one negative path from efficacy to criticism. The positive path from Pav to social comparison (found in highly competitive sport settings) represents the most notable difference between the UK and Romanian models. Study 4 Results. The goal-strategy models identified in academic and sport contexts in studies 1 and 2 (described earlier) emerged again in these settings in study 4 (minus the path from efficacy to reward in both settings, and efficacy to criticism in academia) at three measurement times (start, middle and end of academic year/competitive season). Therefore, the model was stable over time. Unconditional growth curve analyses showed that, during one year, achievement goals and self-regulation processes followed different patterns of change: Map and Pav goals declined, while Pap and Mav goals were stable in education, and all goals declined in sport settings; goal commitment (a composite measure of goal efficacy and value) declined and planning/self-monitoring remained stable (in both settings); social comparison and self-motivation (a composite measure of self-reward and self-criticism) increased in education, while in sport the former was stable and the latter declined . Finally, associative growth curve models showed that in both domains: 1) temporal changes in Map were positively related to changes in goal commitment and planning/monitoring, and changes in the latter were associated with changes in self-motivation; 2) changes in Pap, social comparison and self-motivation were positively related; and 3) Mav changes were not related to changes in SR processes. Conclusion. This thesis advocates a conceptualisation of achievement goals as a dynamic, cyclical interplay between situated reasons, standards and self-regulated action; 2) an exploration of goal standards dimensions beyond the mastery-performance focus with the reason-standard complex; and 3) an expanded achievement motivation and self-regulation model, including the why (achievement goals), the what (personal goals/goal setting), and the how (self-regulated action), where the focus of enquiry is sifted from the correlates to the mechanisms of achievement goal effects.