Understanding the impact of intrinsic versus extrinsic goal framing on exercise performance: The conflicting role of task and ego involvement


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Abstract

Objectives:Based on self-determination theory [SDT; Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The “what” and the “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268], the present study examines whether the negative effect of framing an exercise activity in terms of an extrinsic, relative to an intrinsic, goal attainment on performance occurs because extrinsic, relative to intrinsic, goal framing detracts individuals' attention from the exercise activity, thereby undermining a task involvement, while simultaneously activating the tendency to prove one's ability by outperforming others, thus promoting ego involvement.Design:Two experimental studies among 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students during their physical education classes were conducted.Methods:T-testing, one-way ANOVA analyses and regression analyses were performed to examine main effects and mediatonal effects, respectively.Results:Results confirmed the hypotheses and further showed that being ego involved when being taught a new exercise activity is antithetical to the development of a task involvement, indicating that goal involvement (in contrast to goal orientations) is a bipolar construct.Discussion:Findings are discussed in terms of the processes that link goal framing to exercise performance and in terms of the ongoing controversy among achievement goal theorists whether being ego involved in the activity or adopting an ego-approach orientation is facilitative or maladaptive for optimal performance. Regarding the latter issue, a new multiple goal perspective, that is the regulatory goal perspective, is introduced.

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