Children’s Achievement Goals and Beliefs about Success in Sport

Joan Duda, Kenneth R Fox, SJH Biddle, Neil Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate children's motivational orientations to sport. Recent social cognitive theories of achievement motivation were applied in order: (1) to determine the interrelationships between children's goal orientations and beliefs about success in sport, and (2) to examine the correspondence between goal-belief dimensions and children's interest in and enjoyment of sport activities. One hundred and forty two 10-year-old British boys and girls completed an inventory assessing their goal orientations (dispositional emphasis on task-oriented, ego-oriented, cooperation, and work avoidant goals), beliefs about the causes of success, and degree of satisfaction/interest specific to the context of sport and games. Sex differences in ego orientation and the perceived causes for sport success emerged. Correlational and factor analyses revealed that task orientation was linked to a focus on cooperation and the belief that success stems from effort. Ego orientation was coupled with an emphasis on work avoidance and the view that the possession of ability and/or deceptive tactics and external factors lead to success. The task goal-belief factor positively correlated with the children's reported enjoyment of sport and was negatively related to the amount of boredom experienced. Children who were high in the ego goal-belief dimension tended to find sport more boring. The implications of these findings in terms of maximising children's investment in achievement activities are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1992


  • motivation
  • task
  • performance
  • strategies
  • classroom
  • ability


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