Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 36 Issue 6 (June 2006), Pages 1321-1594

Primary and Secondary Control in Achievement Settings: A Longitudinal Field Study of Academic Motivation, Emotions, and Performance (pages 1430-1470)

The present research represents an application of Rothbaum et al.'s (1982) dual‐process model of perceived control to adaptation in achievement settings. This eight‐month longitudinal field study examined how primary and secondary control influenced end‐of‐year academic motivation (e.g., voluntary course withdrawal), emotions (e.g., stress, regret, pride), and performance (e.g., cumulative grade point average) in 703 first‐year college students. For successful students, primary control related to better performance, higher motivation, and more positive affect. For unsuccessful students, the combination of primary and secondary control resulted in optimal academic adjustment. Unsuccessful students who rely on primary at the expense of secondary control risk serious long‐term deficits in motivation and performance. These findings are discussed with respect to academic overconfidence and control‐enhancing treatments.

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