According to Weiner’s attribution theory, causal attributions for failure which are stable and uncontrollable are detrimental to one’s motivation. Attributing poor performance or academic failure to an immutable lack of ability, for example, will likely result in feelings of hopelessness, potentially resulting in decreased motivation, lack of achievement striving, and future negative performance. In response, attributional retraining (AR) is a motivational intervention designed to restructure students’ causal explanations of poor performance by encouraging controllable and unstable explanations (such as lack effort and strategy), in place of immutable causes (such as academic ability or intelligence), thus providing greater motivation to succeed, increased effort and, in turn, improved performance. While this technique has produced several results concerning academic motivation and performance in college students, efforts to identify moderating factors of the effectiveness of AR are ongoing. Specifically, recent research suggests that mastery motivation is a key mechanism of AR and it may mediate the relationship between AR and performance (grade point average). This pilot field study examined the efficacy of an Attributional Retraining treatment intervention compared to a brief motivational intervention conducted by a counseling psychologist, aimed at improving motivation among college students. Employing a pre–post study design spanning an academic year, we examined the impact of mastery motivation on the effectiveness of AR on college students. Participants were 125 Second-year college students (81.6% female, mean age: 21.1; DS 4.4) who volunteered to participate in a two-phases study in exchange for experimental credit. All students completed a battery of questionnaires at the beginning (Time 1) and near the end of the academic year (Time 2) concerning their university experience. The instrument included items concerning students’ academic performance, the achievement goals questionnaire (AGQ), causal attributions for academic events (academic ASQ). After the phase 1, students were assigned to one of three conditions (Motivational intervention, AR, Control). 3×2 ANCOVAs were performed in order to examine the group effect on causal attributions for academic failure, including the achievement goals orientations as covariates. Results show that, relative to students in the control group and in the motivational intervention group, students who received Attributional Retraining used lesser stable and pervasive causes at the follow up. The mediating role of mastery and performance approach was supported by the data. Findings are discussed in terms of conceptual contributions to both the AR and achievement goals literatures, and practical implications are outlined.

ATTRIBUTIONAL RETRAINING: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF MASTERY AND PERFORMANCE MOTIVATION AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS

MATTEUCCI, MARIA CRISTINA
2012

Abstract

According to Weiner’s attribution theory, causal attributions for failure which are stable and uncontrollable are detrimental to one’s motivation. Attributing poor performance or academic failure to an immutable lack of ability, for example, will likely result in feelings of hopelessness, potentially resulting in decreased motivation, lack of achievement striving, and future negative performance. In response, attributional retraining (AR) is a motivational intervention designed to restructure students’ causal explanations of poor performance by encouraging controllable and unstable explanations (such as lack effort and strategy), in place of immutable causes (such as academic ability or intelligence), thus providing greater motivation to succeed, increased effort and, in turn, improved performance. While this technique has produced several results concerning academic motivation and performance in college students, efforts to identify moderating factors of the effectiveness of AR are ongoing. Specifically, recent research suggests that mastery motivation is a key mechanism of AR and it may mediate the relationship between AR and performance (grade point average). This pilot field study examined the efficacy of an Attributional Retraining treatment intervention compared to a brief motivational intervention conducted by a counseling psychologist, aimed at improving motivation among college students. Employing a pre–post study design spanning an academic year, we examined the impact of mastery motivation on the effectiveness of AR on college students. Participants were 125 Second-year college students (81.6% female, mean age: 21.1; DS 4.4) who volunteered to participate in a two-phases study in exchange for experimental credit. All students completed a battery of questionnaires at the beginning (Time 1) and near the end of the academic year (Time 2) concerning their university experience. The instrument included items concerning students’ academic performance, the achievement goals questionnaire (AGQ), causal attributions for academic events (academic ASQ). After the phase 1, students were assigned to one of three conditions (Motivational intervention, AR, Control). 3×2 ANCOVAs were performed in order to examine the group effect on causal attributions for academic failure, including the achievement goals orientations as covariates. Results show that, relative to students in the control group and in the motivational intervention group, students who received Attributional Retraining used lesser stable and pervasive causes at the follow up. The mediating role of mastery and performance approach was supported by the data. Findings are discussed in terms of conceptual contributions to both the AR and achievement goals literatures, and practical implications are outlined.
ICERI2012 Proceedings5th International Conference of Education, Research and InnovationNovember 19th-21st, 2012 — Madrid, Spain
1238
1242
Matteucci MC
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/133321
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