The effects of children's goal structures and performance feedback on mood, task choice, and task persistence


To assess the mediational influence of children's goal structures on mood, task choice, and task persistence, 10- to 12- yr old children (n=98) were randomly assigned to use either learning-oriented (self-referenced) achievement goals or performance-oriented (other-referenced) achievement goals during a rule-learning task. Half of the children in each goal condition were randomly assigned to receive success feedback while the other half received failure feedback. Consistent with the hypotheses, children's mood benefited not only from success feedback, but also from the adoption of learning goals. Furthermore, following failure feedback, children using learning goals sought more challenging problems for subsequent trials. Contrary to the hypothesis, children who adopted learning goals did not appear willing to persist longer than children who adopted performance goals. The clinical implications of achievement goals as cognitive mediators were discussed. © 1991 Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy.

Publication Title

Behavior Therapy