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Thomas J. Martinek and Joseph B. Griffith III

The purpose of this study was to describe the effect of age on specific psychological and behavioral measures of learned-helpless and mastery-oriented students. The study consisted of two age groups, younger and older, of learned-helplessness and mastery-oriented students. Within each age group, learned-helpless and mastery-oriented students were compared in terms of attributional profiles and levels of task persistence during instruction. Students were asked to view videotapes of their performances, to describe how they thought they did on each task, and to give reasons for their performance. Responses were classified into four attributional categories: (a) ability, (b) effort, (c) task difficulty, and (d) environment or luck. Persistence was also determined by looking at the number of times students would attempt a task. Attributional profiles and task persistence associated with the leamed-helpless condition was more prevalent with the older group than with the younger group.

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Zan Gao, Leslie William Podlog and Louis Harrison

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships among college students’ 2 × 2 goal orientations (mastery-approach [MAp], mastery-avoidance [MAv], performance-approach [PAp], performance-avoidance [PAv]), situational motivation (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, external regulation and amotivation) and effort/persistence in physical activity classes. Participants (140 female, 109 male) completed a battery of questionnaires assessing the outcome variables at the last week of instruction. Regression analyses revealed that MAp and PAp emerged as positive predictors for intrinsic motivation whereas MAp was the only positive predictor for identified regulation. MAp was negatively related to amotivation (AM), while PAp and PAv were positively related to AM. In addition, MAp, PAp, intrinsic motivation, and identified regulation were significant positive predictors of effort/persistence.

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Jianmin Guan, Ping Xiang, Ron McBride and April Bruene

This study examined the relationship between achievement goals and social goals and explored how students’ achievement goals and social goals might affect their reported persistence and effort expended toward physical education in high school settings. Participants were 544 students from two high schools in the southwest U.S. Multiple regression analysis revealed that social responsibility goals represented the greatest contributor to students’ expenditure of persistence and effort toward physical education. This was followed by mastery-approach goals, mastery-avoidance goals, and performance-approach goals. In addition, girls reported significantly higher values on both social-relationship goals and responsibility goals than did boys. Findings revealed that students had multiple goals for wanting to succeed in physical education; using both achievement goals and social goals when studying student motivation and achievement in high school physical education settings is recommend.

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Bulent Agbuga and Ping Xiang

Guided by the trichotomous achievement goal framework, the current study examined mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals and their relations to self-reported persistence/effort among Turkish students in secondary physical education. Two hundred twenty-nine students in grades 8 and 11 completed questionnaires assessing their achievement goals and self-reported persistence/effort in secondary physical education. Results of this study revealed that 8th-graders scored significantly higher than 11th-graders on performance-approach goals and self-reported persistence/effort. Mastery goals and performance-approach goals emerged as significant positive predictors of students’ self-reported persistence/effort, but their predictive power varied by grade. Overall, results of this study provide empirical support for the trichotomous achievement goal framework in the context of secondary school physical education.

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Francis M. Kozub

The purpose was to study expectations, persistence, and posttask attributions in 33 children (ages 9 to 15 years) with mental retardation (MR) and 40 children (ages 10 to 13 years) without disabilities during integrated physical education classes. Each of the participants (34 male and 39 females) viewed a video of another child successfully completing a game, responded to a question about expectations, and engaged in this same game alongside a peer. Results indicated that expectations did not differ between children with and without MR, χ2(1) = .35, p > .05. Following each child’s request to stop playing, a video of individual performance was displayed and an interview was conducted to determine posttask attributions. Learners with MR were less persistent than peers without disabilities, F(1, 68) = 4.60, p < .5, η2 = .06. Although less persistent, children with MR did not differ on posttask attributions from peers without disabilities, χ2(2) = 3.64, p > .05; χ2(2) = 1.74, p > .05.

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Sarah A. Doolittle, Patt Dodds and Judith H. Placek

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Charles B. Corbin, David R. Laurie, Candice Gruger and Betty Smiley

Recent research indicates that females are particularly likely to lack confidence in their abilities to perform physical activities. One theory of instruction suggests a need for educational support for developing competence, self-confidence, and persistence in physical activities. Vicarious success in the form of audiovisual presentations is suggested as one method of educational support which may be effective in enhancing confidence, particularly among females. Thirty-nine adult women participating in an exercise class were studied to determine if vicarious success presented via audiovisuals was effective in altering self-confidence, commitment to physical activity, and physical activity involvement. A discriminant function analysis indicated a significant difference between treatment and control groups on a profile of improved confidence/attitude/activity involvement, with the treatment group showing a more positive profile. Vicarious success experiences enhanced self-confidence, and there was a trend toward greater persistence in activity among those experiencing vicarious success through audiovisual presentations.

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Ping Xiang, Ron McBride and April Bruene

Using achievement goal theory and the expectancy-value model of achievement choice as theoretical frameworks, this study examined relationships between parents’ beliefs and their children’s motivation in an elementary physical education running program. Participants included 102 parents and their children (49 boys; 53 girls) in the third and fourth grades. The parents completed questionnaires assessing their achievement goals, competence beliefs, task values, and gender stereotypic beliefs about running. Children’s persistence/effort was assessed by the number of laps run/walked over the year-long running program. Performance was measured by the timed mile run. Results indicated that only parents’ competence/value beliefs were predictive of their children’s persistence/effort and mile run performance. Gender stereotypic beliefs influenced achievement goals the parents adopted for their children. Findings provided empirical support for the importance of parental beliefs for children’s motivation in physical activity.