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Social aspects of achievement motivation: A multi-method study on social goals

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Much of the research on achievement goal theory has focused on the roles of mastery and performance goals, thus the role of other goals such as social goals have been neglected. The aim of this research was (1) to investigate the types of goals spontaneously endorsed by students and (2) to analyze the relationship of these goals to academic engagement and achievement. Two studies were conducted to address these. Study 1 was a qualitative study wherein students were given open-ended questionnaires where they were asked to write their goals in school. Study 2 was a longitudinal quantitative study designed to investigate the relationships among achievement goals, social goals, academic engagement, disengagement, and achievement. Results of Study 1 indicated the majority of the goals (81%) espoused by students pertained to social goals (affiliation, approval, concern, responsibility, and status goals). Only a minority of the goals were related to the oft-examined achievement goals (15%). Study 2 showed that social goals, as a whole, were positive predictors of academic engagement and negative predictors of disengagement. Engagement in turn was a positive predictor of GPA while disengagement was a negative predictor. Social goals seem to emerge as powerful motivational constructs. We recommend that researchers consider investigating social goals that might be more salient in cross-cultural settings instead of focusing exclusively on mastery and performance goals.

This talk is part of the FERSA Guest Lectures series.

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