Avoidance motivation : its manifestation in goals across cultures
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The present study was designed to investigate how avoidance motivation instigated goals across cultures and how self-construal influenced this instigation. The main focus was on the study of avoidance personal goals. Past studies in the West consistently reported that pursuing personal goals that were fueled by avoidance motivation led to a host of negative outcomes. With recent cross-cultural findings suggesting an association between interdependent self-construal and avoidance motivation orientation, it became the primary objective of the present study to examine whether or not interdependent self-construal helped explain the prevalence and outcomes of avoidance personal goals across cultures. To explore if the influence of self-construal on goal orientation was consistent across different types of goals, cross-cultural investigation of the adoption and outcomes of situationally specific achievement goals was also conducted. Achievement goals appeared less relevant to self-construal than personal goals which reflected individuals’ broad selfconcept. Cross-cultural investigation of the influence of interdependent self-construal on performance-avoidance achievement goals became the secondary focus here. Data were collected from 173 Thai and 153 American undergraduates. Participants responded to measures of personal goals, personal goal desirability, self-construal, and subjective well-being in the first data collection session. Four weeks later, they responded to measures of personal goal progress, achievement goal orientation, fear of failure, competence perception, intrinsic motivation, and test anxiety. The measures administered in the first session and the measure of personal goal progress from the second session captured the variables related to the avoidance personal goal study while the remaining measures captured those related to the performance-avoidance achievement goal study. Mean comparisons and correlational analyses were conducted. The findings partially supported the research hypotheses. While the hypothesized prevalence and outcomes of avoidance personal goals in the two countries were supported, interdependent self-construal helped explain a higher orientation toward avoidance personal goals only in Thailand. Additionally, findings suggested no cross-cultural variation in achievement goals. Interdependent self-construal was not predictive of performance-avoidance achievement goal adoption in either Thailand or the U.S. Negative outcomes of such adoption were evident in both countries.