Academic journal article Education

Does Goal Orientation Matter for Trait Anxiety, Self-Efficacy and Performance? an Investigation in University Athletes

Academic journal article Education

Does Goal Orientation Matter for Trait Anxiety, Self-Efficacy and Performance? an Investigation in University Athletes

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nicholls (1984) contends that the two conceptions of ability are embedded within two orthogonal achievement goal orientations. These two goal orientations are related to the conception of ability adopted by an individual and act as goals of action reflecting the individual's personal theory of achievement within a particular achievement context. An individual who is task oriented utilises an undifferentiated conception of ability, focussing on developing skills, learning new skills, and demonstrating mastery at the task. The demonstration of ability is based on maximum effort and is self-referenced. In contrast, an individual who is ego oriented utilises a differentiated conception of ability, focussing on demonstrating ability by being successful with minimum effort and by outperforming others (Treasue and Roberts, 1994).

Nicholls (1989) pointed out in achievement goal theory that important differences in behaviour are related to how success is perceived and competence evaluated. Individuals who adopt task orientation are interested in learning and developing skills, demonstrating mastery in the task, and working hard. Individuals who internalise ego goals, on the other hand, are more concerned with social comparisons, proving their ability, and receiving desirable, or avoiding negative, judgments about their performance (Cetinkalp and Turksoy, 2011). For example, Boardley and Kavussanu (2010) reported that ego orientation may correspond to high levels of antisocial behaviours in their sport teams. Therefore, researchers reported that task orientation is positively linked to more adaptive outcomes (Behzadi et al., 2011; Duda and Whitehead, 1998; Roberts, 2001; Biddle, 2001; Duda and Hall, 2001; Ames, 1992). A high level of task orientation is likely to lead to high levels of satisfaction, challenge, and enjoyment of athletes. However, relevant findings indicate less positive effects of ego-orientation (Biddle et al., 2003). It has been stated that a high task orientation, either alone or in combination with a high ego orientation, is more adaptive. Also, it could likely result in more positive outcomes (Biddle, 2001). Thus, it could possibly be proposed that high ego orientation with high task orientation may be beneficial, whereas high ego orientation alone could lead to more negative outcomes. Moreover, it was also stated that athletes who are high in ego orientation tend to report unsportspersonlike attitudes, to endorse intentionally aggressive sport acts, and to display aggressive behaviours in the sport context (Biddle et al., 2003).

Many psychological variables have been examined in their relationship with goal orientations (Duda, 1989; van de Pol et al., 2012; van de Pol and Kavussanu, 2011; Boardley and Kavussanu, 2010; Behzadi et al., 2011). Anxiety is one of the variables that could be related to goal orientation. It was stated that that goal orientation plays an important role in a person's interpretation and performance during competitive sports and it will affect athletes' anxiety (Behzadi et al., 2011). Anxiety is defined as 'a waiting situation that upsets and oppresses people and an arousal that comes with the physical, emotional and cognitive changes when people face a stimulant' (Tekindal et al., 2010). Spielberger (1972) indicated two types of anxiety. Trait anxiety refers to how anxious one feels in general and state anxiety expresses how anxious one feels at a particular time in a particular situation (Tenenbaum and Milgram, 1978; Oner and Le Compte, 1983). Previous research about the relationship between anxiety and performance was initially based on the inverted-U hypothesis which stated that moderate levels of arousal were generally associated with higher performance. However, if arousal level gets too high or too low it leads to poorer performance (Gould and Krane, 1992; Spielberger, 1989). Moreover, Martens et al. (1990) stated that anxiety has two components which are somatic and cognitive anxiety. …

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