Effects of achievement goals on perceptions of competence in conditions of unfavourable social comparisons: The mastery goal advantage effect
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kamarova, S. and Chatzisarantis, N. and Hagger, M. and Lintunen, T. and Hassandra, M. and Papaioannou, A. 2017. Effects of achievement goals on perceptions of competence in conditions of unfavourable social comparisons: The mastery goal advantage effect. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 87 (4): pp. 630-646, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/bjep.12168 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving at http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828039.html
Background: Previous prospective studies have documented that mastery-approach goals are adaptive because they facilitate less negative psychological responses to unfavourable social comparisons than performance-approach goals. AIMS: This study aimed to confirm this so-called 'mastery goal advantage' effect experimentally. Methods: A 2 × 3 design was adopted where achievement goals (mastery vs. performance) and normative information (favourable vs. no-normative information vs. unfavourable) were manipulated as between participant factors. Sample: Participants were 201 undergraduates, 57 males and 144 females, ranging in age from 17 to 55 years (Mage = 22.53, SD = 6.51). Results: Regression analyses pointed out that experimentally induced mastery-approach goals facilitated higher levels of competence and happiness with task performance than experimentally induced performance-approach goals in conditions of unfavourable social comparisons. In contrast, although performance-approach goals yielded the highest levels of happiness with task performance in conditions of favourable social comparisons, this positive effect of performance-approach goals did not extend to perceptions of competence. Conclusion: Current findings broaden understanding of the adaptive nature of mastery-approach goals and suggest that it is possible to modulate aversive responses to unfavourable social comparisons by focusing attention on mastery-approach goals.
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