Perceived control and treatment interventions in competitive achievement settings: effects for students with relinquished control and fit-focused secondary control

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Parker, Patti C.
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According to Morling and Evered’s (2006) Fit-Focused model of secondary control, an individual can adapt to adverse circumstances by accepting the situation and adjusting the self. The present study examined this theory in a competitive achievement setting to determine whether vulnerable students who relinquish academic control (high acceptance/low adjustment beliefs) benefit from an Attributional Retraining (AR) treatment intervention compared with a Stress Reduction (SR) treatment. Based on an 8-month quasi-experimental treatment study, a priori t-tests were used to test the hypotheses within an Adjustment (low, high) x Treatment (AR, SR) Analyses of Covariance experimental design for individuals high in failure acceptance. Findings revealed that AR (versus SR) facilitated higher long-term learning-related affects and academic performance for relinquished control students. The findings reveal AR’s strategic utility for assisting vulnerable individuals who lack Fit-Focused SC, as well as provide empirical support for Morling and Evered’s (2006) Fit-Focused model.
secondary control, attributional retraining, acceptance, adjustment, relinquished control, achievement motivation