Effects of perceived competence and goal orientations on task persistence and affect in physical activity : a test of Dweck and Leggett's motivation theory
Master of Arts
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This study tested Dweck and Leggett’s (1988) social cognitive model of motivation in the physical domain. It investigated the effects of perceived competence (PC) and goal orientation (GO) on affective and behavioral patterns in a motor skill activity. The model proposes that under failure conditions subjects with a low perceived competence and an outcome/win goal will have high negative affect, and will persist less than the other three groups, who will continue to display a mastery pattern. The sample 61 university students majoring in physical education. In phase 1 participants were individually tested on a throwing and balancing task and completed a "Task Specific Perceived Competence" Scale. The Scale was administered several days later to determine test-retest reliability (P=.79). The two scores were averaged and the participants were separated into high or low perceived competence groups dependent on the score obtained. Participants were then randomly assigned into two GO groups differentiated by given instructions. In phase 2 subjects experienced four successful trials and four failure trials on the task. They were told that they could have up to five additional rehearsals in between each trial. A Positive Affect Negative Affect schedule (PANAS, Watson, 1988) was administered after trial four and trial eight. The data was analyzed by a 2 (PC) by 2 (GO) by 2 (gender) by 2 (success/failure condition) with repeated measures on the last factor. There was a significant conditions effect for negative affect, F (1,53) = 17.68, p <.001. Negative affect increased for all groups from success to failure. There was no support for an interaction between PC and GO. The analysis for persistence revealed a GO by Gender by Condition interaction, F(l,53) = 4.50, p <.05. Post-hoc analysis using a Scheff^ test revealed that in success there was no difference between groups. In failure one group (females with an outcome/win goal) was different from the other three. Across conditions three groups changed significantly. The only group that failed to change were females with an outcome/win goal orientation. The findings do not support the hypothesis of an interaction between PC and GO in failure conditions. The results have imphcations for goal setting and instructional methods used to motivate students and athletes.