The research in this article was supported by a research grant (Award No.: RES-000-22-3684) and a PhD studentship (Award No.: ES/J50001X/1) both from the Economic and Social Research Council.
When the Going Gets Tough: The “Why” of Goal Striving Matters
Article first published online: 6 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Journal of Personality
Volume 82, Issue 3, pages 225–236, June 2014
How to Cite
Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L. C., Sedikides, C., Duda, J., Stewart, B., Smith, A. and Bond, J. (2014), When the Going Gets Tough: The “Why” of Goal Striving Matters. Journal of Personality, 82: 225–236. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12047
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 6 AUG 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 JUN 2013 06:12AM EST
- Economic and Social Research Council. Grant Number: RES-000-22-3684
No prior research has examined how motivation for goal striving influences persistence in the face of increasing goal difficulty. This research examined the role of self-reported (Study 1) and primed (Study 2) autonomous and controlled motives in predicting objectively assessed persistence during the pursuit of an increasingly difficult goal. In Study 1, 100 British athletes (64 males; Mage = 19.89 years, SDage = 2.43) pursued a goal of increasing difficulty on a cycle ergometer. In Study 2, 90 British athletes (43 males; Mage = 19.63 years, SDage = 1.14) engaged in the same task, but their motivation was primed by asking them to observe a video of an actor describing her or his involvement in an unrelated study. In Study 1, self-reported autonomous goal motives predicted goal persistence via challenge appraisals and task-based coping. In contrast, controlled goal motives predicted threat appraisals and disengagement coping, which, in turn, was a negative predictor of persistence. In Study 2, primed autonomous (compared to controlled) goal motives predicted greater persistence, positive affect, and future interest for task engagement. The findings underscore the importance of autonomous motivation for behavioral investment in the face of increased goal difficulty.