When the going gets tough: the “why” of goal striving matters

Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L.C., Sedikides, Constantine, Duda, J.L., Stewart, B. and Bond, J. (2013) When the going gets tough: the “why” of goal striving matters Journal of Personality, 82, (3), pp. 225-236. (doi:10.1111/jopy.12047).


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No prior research has examined how motivation for goal striving influences persistence in the face of increasing goal difficulty. This research examined the role of self-reported (Study 1) and primed (Study 2) autonomous and controlled motives in predicting objectively assessed persistence during the pursuit of an increasingly difficult goal. In Study 1, 100 British athletes (64 males; Mage?=?19.89 years, SDage?=?2.43) pursued a goal of increasing difficulty on a cycle ergometer. In Study 2, 90 British athletes (43 males; Mage?=?19.63 years, SDage?=?1.14) engaged in the same task, but their motivation was primed by asking them to observe a video of an actor describing her or his involvement in an unrelated study. In Study 1, self-reported autonomous goal motives predicted goal persistence via challenge appraisals and task-based coping. In contrast, controlled goal motives predicted threat appraisals and disengagement coping, which, in turn, was a negative predictor of persistence. In Study 2, primed autonomous (compared to controlled) goal motives predicted greater persistence, positive affect, and future interest for task engagement. The findings underscore the importance of autonomous motivation for behavioral investment in the face of increased goal difficulty.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/jopy.12047
ISSNs: 0022-3506 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
ePrint ID: 364908
Date :
Date Event
6 August 2013e-pub ahead of print
June 2014Published
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 10:24
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 13:48
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/364908

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