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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

  • Constantine Sedikides
  • Alison Smith
  • Johanna Bond

External organisations

  • SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY
  • University of Bath
  • University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA

Abstract

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.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-236
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume82
Issue number3
Early online date6 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014