Approach and avoidance coping during task performance in young men: The role of goal attainment expectancies
The present study investigated approach and avoidance coping strategies as a function of goal attainment expectancies in young men. Twenty-four male students participated in an experiment consisting of two rowing tests. After the initial test, participants were divided into two experimental groups and were assigned to conditions of attainable and unattainable goals for the final test, depending on performance in the initial test and experimental condition. Participants of the two groups reported similar goal attainment expectancies before the start of the final test; however, during the task expectancies for the attainable goal group increased, whereas those for the unattainable goal group decreased. After the conclusion of the task, participants were asked to respond with regard to coping strategies they used during the latest part of the final test, when goal attainment expectancies had been differentiated. The analysis revealed significant effects for effort increase, and mental and behavioural disengagement, whereas a non-significant but considerable effect was identified for planning. The higher goal attainment expectancies group scored higher on effort increase and planning, and lower on behavioural and mental disengagement, than the lower goal attainment expectancies group. The results of the present study are in accordance with the general theoretical assumptions of the control process theory, and more particularly highlight the importance of goal attainment expectancies as a factor influencing the employment of approach and avoidance coping strategies in achievement situations.