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The contributions of process versus outcome focus and age to self-regulation during goal pursuit


Hennecke, Marie. The contributions of process versus outcome focus and age to self-regulation during goal pursuit. 2011, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

The work summarized in this thesis applies the “motivation-as-cognition”-paradigm
(Kruglanski et al., 2002) as well as a life-span developmental perspective (e.g., Goulet & Baltes,
1970) to the study of self-regulation during the pursuit of personal goals and reactions to failure.
This work examines how goal focus (i.e. the cognitive representation of means vs. desired
outcomes of goal pursuit) and age are associated with affective, cognitive and behavioral selfregulation
during goal pursuit and especially after experiencing failure. Adopting a multi-method
approach, the following questions were investigated: Is a focus on the means of goal pursuit
(process focus) generally more adaptive for goal-directed self-regulation and subjective well-being
than a focus on the outcomes (outcome focus; Part I)? Are the two goal foci related to different
reactions to failure (Part II)? How and why might goal focus change across the lifespan (Part III)?
Are older adults more process-focused than younger adults who, in turn, are more outcomefocused
(Part IV)? Finally, are older adults better at self-regulating their behavior, affect and
cognition during goal pursuit than younger adults, especially after experiencing failure (Part V)?
Studies have supported the hypotheses that a process focus is more adaptive for affective,
cognitive and behavioral self-regulation than an outcome focus. Adults also seemed to profit
from a process focus when encountering failure (and success). In contrast to younger adults,
older adults focused more strongly on the process of goal pursuit than on its outcomes. A
process focus appeared to be more adaptive than an outcome focus irrespective of age. Older
adults were more successful in self-regulating their behavior, affect, and thought during goal
pursuit than younger adults, especially after failure.
Finally, an overall discussion will address shortcomings of the present studies and theoretical
implications for discrepancy theories of motivation and the study of self-regulation over the life
span. Suggestions for future research directions will be proposed and possible practical
implications shall be explored.

Abstract

The work summarized in this thesis applies the “motivation-as-cognition”-paradigm
(Kruglanski et al., 2002) as well as a life-span developmental perspective (e.g., Goulet & Baltes,
1970) to the study of self-regulation during the pursuit of personal goals and reactions to failure.
This work examines how goal focus (i.e. the cognitive representation of means vs. desired
outcomes of goal pursuit) and age are associated with affective, cognitive and behavioral selfregulation
during goal pursuit and especially after experiencing failure. Adopting a multi-method
approach, the following questions were investigated: Is a focus on the means of goal pursuit
(process focus) generally more adaptive for goal-directed self-regulation and subjective well-being
than a focus on the outcomes (outcome focus; Part I)? Are the two goal foci related to different
reactions to failure (Part II)? How and why might goal focus change across the lifespan (Part III)?
Are older adults more process-focused than younger adults who, in turn, are more outcomefocused
(Part IV)? Finally, are older adults better at self-regulating their behavior, affect and
cognition during goal pursuit than younger adults, especially after experiencing failure (Part V)?
Studies have supported the hypotheses that a process focus is more adaptive for affective,
cognitive and behavioral self-regulation than an outcome focus. Adults also seemed to profit
from a process focus when encountering failure (and success). In contrast to younger adults,
older adults focused more strongly on the process of goal pursuit than on its outcomes. A
process focus appeared to be more adaptive than an outcome focus irrespective of age. Older
adults were more successful in self-regulating their behavior, affect, and thought during goal
pursuit than younger adults, especially after failure.
Finally, an overall discussion will address shortcomings of the present studies and theoretical
implications for discrepancy theories of motivation and the study of self-regulation over the life
span. Suggestions for future research directions will be proposed and possible practical
implications shall be explored.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation
Referees:Freund Alexandra M, Denissen J J A
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:08 Jan 2012 14:16
Last Modified:17 Feb 2018 14:13
Number of Pages:200
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&CON_LNG=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=006447494

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