Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Professor Craig Speelman

Abstract

Beliefs held about personal goals are termed goal dimensions. When applied to academic goals, goal dimensions represent a form of academic motivation. The purpose of this research was to examine if a model of goal dimensions developed by Ingledew, Wray, Markland, and Hardy (2005) in a business setting with adults could be applied to explain academic outcomes and psychological distress of two hundred and sixteen Australian final-year secondary students who were striving to gain a place at a university. Structural Regression (S-R) Analysis was used to examine the effect of the goal dimensions on psychological distress at Time 1 (April); psychological distress at Time 3 (September) while accounting for psychological distress at Time 1; and psychological distress at Time 3 as well as overall final academic performance, with consideration given to the effect of sense of goal progress and use of self-regulated learning strategies assessed at Time 2. Although not intended as a major part of the current research, several alternative models were developed for the scales that were used in the present study. Findings from the substantive analysis indicated that supportive beliefs about this personal goal were predictive of fewer symptoms of concurrently measured psychological distress.

These findings were most clearly demonstrated when an S-R (of a substantially modified version of the Ingledew et al. model) rather than a Path Analysis was conducted. Supportive goal beliefs were also predictive of subsequent beliefs about goal progress and academic performance.

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