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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The roles of goal orientation, task-specific self-efficacy and motivation/emotion control in the academic performance of college students Poole, Shannon L.


The purpose of this research was to examine the types of emotional and motivational difficulties experienced by college age students and the types of emotional and motivational control strategies that they report using. Further, the study examined how goal orientation and self-efficacy beliefs influence students' motivational and emotional response to a difficult task. Finally, the study explored the interrelationships between goal orientation, self-efficacy beliefs, motivational and emotional response, motivation and emotion control strategy use, task persistence and academic achievement, to try to explain how volition control strategy use influences task persistence and academic achievement. Participants in the study (n = 186) completed questionnaires that measured learning and performance goals, self-efficacy, emotional and motivational difficulties, use of motivation and emotion control strategies, task persistence, and reading comprehension (as a measure of achievement). Results suggested that college-age students experience a range of emotional and motivational problems and use a variety of strategies to overcome those difficulties. Students reported having emotional problems more frequently than motivational problems, but they reported using motivation control strategies more frequently than emotional control strategies. Analyses also revealed that students high in learning goals were less likely to report motivational problems, more likely to report using volition control strategies, and more likely to persist. Students high in performance goals were more likely to report both emotional and motivational problems. Students high in self-efficacy were less likely to report both types of problems. Self-efficacy was also highly correlated with use of motivation control strategies, persistence, and achievement. Finally, the strongest predictor of task persistence and achievement was a lack of motivational problems. This suggests that self-efficacy and learning goals not only exert a direct effect on persistence and achievement, but also that they may exert an indirect effect on task engagement by protecting students from experiencing motivational problems. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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