Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology vol:31 issue:1 pages:67-86
In this cross-sectional study we investigated to what extent autonomous and controlled motivation and social achievement goals are associated with students' emotional experiences at school. We found in a sample of 426 elementary school students, aged from 10 to 12 years, autonomous motivation (i.e. students' engagement in class activities because they find such activities enjoying or personally important) and social development goals (i.e. students' focus on developing meaningful social relationships) to be positively associated with positive emotions. In contrast, controlled motivation (i.e. students' engagement in class activities because they feel coerced to do so) and social demonstration-approach goals (i.e. students' focus on demonstrating popularity) were positively associated with negative emotions. These associations remained significant even after controlling for perceived competence. Cluster analysis further showed that students high in autonomous motivation and social development goals and low in controlled motivation and social demonstration-approach goals exhibited a better motivational profile compared to students high or low in all the above motivational variables. Results are discussed within the self-determination theory and the social achievement goal perspective.