Self-regulatory responses to unattainable goals: the role of goal motives

Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1372-7308, Sedikides, C., Smith, A.L. and Duda, J.L., 2014. Self-regulatory responses to unattainable goals: the role of goal motives. Self and Identity, 13 (5), pp. 594-612. ISSN 1529-8868

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Does motivation for goal pursuit predict how individuals will respond when confronted with unattainable goals? Two studies examined the role of autonomous and controlled motives when pursuing an unattainable goal without (Study 1) or with (Study 2) the opportunity to reengage in alternative goal pursuit. Autonomous motives positively predicted the cognitive ease of reengagement with an alternative goal when the current goal was perceived as unattainable, especially when participants realized goal unattainability relatively early during goal striving. Autonomous motives, however, were negative predictors of cognitive ease of disengagement from an unattainable goal. When faced with failure, autonomously motivated individuals are better off realizing early the goal unattainability. Otherwise, they will find it difficult to disengage cognitively from the pursued goal (despite reengaging cognitively in an alternative goal), possibly due to interfering rumination.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Self and Identity
Creators: Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L.C., Sedikides, C., Smith, A.L. and Duda, J.L.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 25 February 2014
Volume: 13
Number: 5
ISSN: 1529-8868
Rights: 2014 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 27 Sep 2017 09:23
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 09:25

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