Modeling the Relation of Goal Orientations to Achievement-Related Affect in Physical Education: Does Perceived Ability Matter?

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Symeon Vlachopoulos University of Exeter

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Stuart J.H. Biddle University of Exeter

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This study investigated likely determinants of achievement-related affect in physical education. In particular, interrelationships were examined between achievement goal orientations, success perceptions, personally controllable attributions, and achievement-related affect based on data collected from 1,070 British students aged 11-16 years. A positive association emerged between task orientation and success perception, but not between ego orientation and success perception. In addition, perceived success positively influenced personally controllable attributions and positive affect, but had no effect on negative emotion. Furthermore, personally controllable attributions augmented positive emotion and minimized negative affect. Perceived ability moderated the relation between ego orientation and personally controllable attributions. Hence, under the low perceived ability condition, ego orientation was associated with personally uncontrollable attributions, but the opposite was true for the high perceived ability group. An enhancement of both task orientation and perceived athletic competence is needed for adolescents to derive positive affective experiences from physical education.

Symeon Vlachopoulos is now with the Department of Sport Sciences at Brunei University, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5DU, United Kingdom. Stuart Biddle is with the School of Education at the University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, United Kingdom.

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