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Achievement orientations, school adjustment, and well-being: A longitudinal study
Örebro University, Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7546-2275
2007 (English)In: Journal of research on adolescence, ISSN 1050-8392, E-ISSN 1532-7795, Vol. 17, no 4, 789-812 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study set out to identify the kinds of achievement orientations that adolescents show, and to examine the kinds of antecedents and consequences the use of a particular orientation has. The participants were 734 Swedish adolescents (335 boys and 399 girls) who filled in questionnaires measuring their achievement beliefs and behaviors, depressive symptoms, engagement with school, and norm-breaking behavior. By using clustering-by-cases analysis, five achievement orientation groups were identified: optimism, defensive-pessimism, self-handicapping, and learned helplessness, and a group showing average levels of criteria variables. The results showed further that a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in engagement with school predicted a move to the use of optimistic and defensive-pessimistic groups, whereas a reverse pattern predicted a move to the helplessness and self-handicapping groups. Moreover, the optimistic and defensive-pessimistic achievement orientations at Time 1 predicted an increase in engagement with school and a decrease in depressive symptoms later on, whereas self-handicapping and learned helplessness predicted a decrease in engagement with school and increases in depressive symptoms and norm-breaking behavior.

Individuals show different kinds of achievement-related beliefs and behaviors in academic contexts (Cantor, 1990; Midgley, Arunkumar, & Urdan, 1996). Some people typically become anxious about the possibility of failure, which then leads to task-avoidance (Midgley, Arunkumar, & Urdan, 1996; Miller, 1987). Others are optimistic and, consequently, make an active effort to deal with a situation (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997; Hokoda & Fincham, 1995). The expectation of failure and subsequent task-avoidant behavior are likely to lead to a low level of academic achievement and poor adjustment (Nurmi, Aunola, Salmela-Aro, & Lindroos, 2003; Nurmi, Onatsu, & Haavisto, 1995), whereas optimism and task-focused behavior contributes to good outcomes and good adjustment (Cantor, 1990; Norem & Cantor, 1986a; Nurmi et al., 2003). Previous research on these kinds of achievement orientations, however, suffers from important limitations. First, only a few studies have examined the various kinds of achievement-related beliefs and behaviors among adolescents (Midgley et al., 1996; Nurmi, Salmela-Aro, & Ruotsalainen, 1994). Second, only a few studies have investigated the question of how liable various achievement orientations are to change during adolescence, and what factors might contribute to such developmental changes. This study aimed at identifying the kinds of achievement orientations that adolescents show, and what are the major antecedents and consequences of particular orientations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 17, no 4, 789-812 p.
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6727DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2007.00547.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-6727DiVA: diva2:216853
Available from: 2009-05-12 Created: 2009-05-12 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Stattin, Håkan

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