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Self-worth protection in achievement motivation: Performance effects and attributional behavior


Thompson, T and Davidson, JA and Barber, JG, Self-worth protection in achievement motivation: Performance effects and attributional behavior, Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, (4) pp. 598-610. ISSN 0022-0663 (1995) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1037/0022-0663.87.4.598


Two experiments tested central assumptions of the self-worth theory of achievement motivation. This theory states that certain students, known as self-worth protective students, will voluntarily withdraw effort in achievement situations in which poor performance is likely to be attributed to low ability. Thereby, a sense of self-worth is protected. Self-worth theory also states that these students will perform well in situations in which a mitigating excuse allows poor performance to be attributed to a factor that is unrelated to ability. Experiment 1 confirmed that self-worth protective students perform well following failure that allows a face-saving opportunity but perform poorly following failure that does not allow face-saving. The results of Experiment 2 confirmed that the poor performance of self-worth protective students following failure is associated with a lesser tendency to assume personal responsibility for failure. These findings are discussed in terms of strategies for modifying the achievement-limiting behaviors of self-worth protective students.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Sensory processes, perception and performance
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Thompson, T (Dr Ted Thompson)
UTAS Author:Davidson, JA (Dr John Davidson)
ID Code:6064
Year Published:1995
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:1995-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-25

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