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See detailMindfulness in everyday life: Between- and within-person relationships to motivational conflicts
Senker, Kerstin; Fries, Stefan; Grund, Axel UL

in Current Psychology (2020)

Mindfulness has shown beneficial relationships with well-being and self-regulation. We aim to improve the understanding of the effects of between- and within-person differences in mindfulness when dealing ... [more ▼]

Mindfulness has shown beneficial relationships with well-being and self-regulation. We aim to improve the understanding of the effects of between- and within-person differences in mindfulness when dealing with situations of motivational conflict. For this purpose, we conducted an experience sampling study with 56 university students who replied to a total of N = 1889 short questionnaires, which they received via their smartphones over a period of eight consecutive days. In addition to a state mindfulness questionnaire with the facets presence and non-judgment (focusing attention on the experience of the current action and a momentary non-judgmental stance towards these, respectively), the participants received questions about their current affective well-being and perceived intensity of want or should conflict experiences. Multi-level analyses revealed that want conflicts were predicted by both state mindfulness facets, even after momentary affect was controlled. In addition, to be non-judgmental (as a trait), and having momentary presence (as a state), related to lower intensity of should conflicts. The results suggest that being mindful might be a particularly beneficial way of dealing with daily motivational conflicts, which is an essential and frequent task of self-regulation. [less ▲]

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See detailApp-Based Habit Building Reduces Motivational Impairments During Studying - An Event Sampling Study
Stojanovic, Marco; Grund, Axel UL; Fries, Stefan

in FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY (2020), 11

In this app-based event sampling study, we observed the intentional formation of new study habits. A sample of 91 university students defined individual study habits and logged data over 6 weeks on ... [more ▼]

In this app-based event sampling study, we observed the intentional formation of new study habits. A sample of 91 university students defined individual study habits and logged data over 6 weeks on motivational conflict, motivational interference (MI) and automaticity of behavior after each habit repetition using an app on their phone. The app was specifically created for this study and gave feedback on habit automaticity. A total of N = 2,574 habit repetitions have been generated and were analyzed using multilevel modeling. The results suggest that (1) app-based intentional habit building works, as automaticity of behavior could be predicted by habit repetition, (2) motivational impairments during studying can be reduced by building habits, as want conflicts and MI decreased with automaticity, and (3) trait self-control supports studying indirectly by fostering habit building rather than directly by suppressing impulses during the activity, as self-control predicted automaticity, but not motivational impairments during the habit execution. The effect of self-control on automaticity of the new study habit was fully mediated by the general automaticity of the students' other study habits (general study habit strength). This study showcases an app-guided genesis of new study habits and its beneficial motivational effects for learning behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailMotivation and self-regulation
Grund, Axel UL

Postdoctoral thesis (2019)

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See detailSelf-control motivationally reconsidered: "Acting" self-controlled is different to "being good" at self-control
Grund, Axel UL; Carstens, Christoph-Alexander

in MOTIVATION AND EMOTION (2019), 43(1), 63-81

Self-control is typically conceptualized as an inherent human skill, focusing on the imperative control of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the present research, we scrutinize this understanding by ... [more ▼]

Self-control is typically conceptualized as an inherent human skill, focusing on the imperative control of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the present research, we scrutinize this understanding by differentiating between an ability self-concept of self-control strength and experiential acts of self-control. Moreover, by taking a motivational perspective, we analyze how much of a role intrapsychic conflict plays in both conceptions of self-control, and with regard to psychological well-being. In cross-sectional Study 1 (N = 228), we compared a typicality measure of experiential acts of imperative self-control with the widely used Self-Control Scale (Tangney et al. in J Pers 72:271-322, 2004). Findings confirm that "being good" at self-control does not correspond to "acting" self-controlled, and that both measures show opposing relationships to intrapsychic conflict, as well as to well-being. In Study 2 (N = 114), we corroborated these findings by using an experience-sampling approach. Multilevel analyses showed that between-person differences (Level 2) in self-control strength were generally unrelated to experiential acts of self-control in everyday life. By contrast, we found a positive Level 2 effect for acting self-controlled. With regard to momentary affect, both between- and within differences (Level 1) in acting self-controlled served as substantial predictors, in addition to momentary self-determination. Other context-dependent effects (i.e., studying vs. leisure time) further emphasize the need to consider motivational interpretations of self-control (strength). [less ▲]

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See detailValence and Motivation as Predictors of Student Time Use in Everyday Life: An Experience Sampling Study
Koudela-Hamila, Susanne; Grund, Axel UL; Santangelo, Philip et al

in FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY (2019), 10

Popular descriptions of studying frequency show remarkable discrepancies: students complain about their workload, and alumni describe freedom and pleasure. Unfortunately, empirical evidence on student ... [more ▼]

Popular descriptions of studying frequency show remarkable discrepancies: students complain about their workload, and alumni describe freedom and pleasure. Unfortunately, empirical evidence on student time use is sparse. To investigate time use and reveal contributing psychological factors, we conducted an e-diary study. One hundred fifty-four students reported their time use and valence hourly over 7 days, both at the start of the semester and during their examination period. Motivational problems, social support and self-control were assessed once via questionnaires. Whereas the mean academic time use was in the expected range, the between-subject differences were substantial. We used multilevel modeling to separately analyze the within- and between-subject associations of valence as within factor and time use and social support, self-control, and motivation as between factors and time use. The analyses revealed the importance of affective factors on a within-subject level. Before studying, valence was already low, and it deteriorated further during studying. As expected at the between-subject level, motivational problems were related to less time studying, whereas surprisingly, self-control had no effect. The findings at the start of the semester were replicated in the examination period. [less ▲]

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See detailMindfulness and situational interest
Grund, Axel UL; Schaefer, Nina; Sohlau, Sylvia et al

in EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY (2019), 39(3), 353-369

In an attempt to exploit the concept of mindfulness for educational contexts, we investigated the role of dispositional mindfulness as an internal resource for the development of situational interest ... [more ▼]

In an attempt to exploit the concept of mindfulness for educational contexts, we investigated the role of dispositional mindfulness as an internal resource for the development of situational interest. Using an online questionnaire, we assessed participants' (N = 161, mean age = 30.4 years, 74% female, 66% university students) mindfulness, presented them with a text on bionics, and asked them to indicate their situational interest regarding the material (t1). One week later, they indicated their maintained situational interest (t2). Findings reveal a positive relationship between mindfulness and situational interest at t1, especially with regard to participants' ability to be momentarily 'present' and affective aspects of situational interest. Furthermore, we found an indirect effect of mindfulness on maintained situational interest at t2 via participants' interest at t1. These findings were independent from participants' initial interest and knowledge. Contrary to our expectation, we did not find a moderation effect for mindfulness on the relation between situational interest at t1 and t2. We discuss these findings in terms of implications for formal learning contexts. [less ▲]

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See detailUnderstanding procrastination: A motivational approach
Grund, Axel UL; Fries, Stefan

in PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES (2018), 121

Procrastination is often seen as a self-regulatory failure. We want to offer a perspective that shifts the focus from volitional to motivational aspects of procrastination. In an attempt to demystify the ... [more ▼]

Procrastination is often seen as a self-regulatory failure. We want to offer a perspective that shifts the focus from volitional to motivational aspects of procrastination. In an attempt to demystify the phenomenon, we combine two studies exploring the motivational foundations of procrastination with a study aiming to uncover its implicit normative connotations. Study 1 investigated the link between value orientations and procrastination at a general level, showing that people high in procrastination entertain low achievement and high well-being value orientations. Study 2 investigated the link between self-determination and procrastination within and across daily activities. Low self-determination related to low levels of activity completion and to procrastination in general. Finally, Study 3 investigated the link between value as well as political orientations and perceptions of procrastination. Individuals who favored modern, conservative values were more likely to attribute academic procrastination as personal failure, whereas individuals who endorsed post-modern, liberal values were more likely to consider situational causes of academic procrastination. Against this background, we argue for a less normative view on procrastination and recommend motivational (e.g., goal selection) rather than volitional (e.g., goal implementation) interventions to prevent procrastination. [less ▲]

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See detailTesting Is More Desirable When It Is Adaptive and Still Desirable When Compared to Note-Taking
Heitmann, Svenja; Grund, Axel UL; Berthold, Kirsten et al

in FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY (2018), 9

Testing is a well-established desirable difficulty. Yet there are still some open issues regarding the benefits of testing that need to be addressed. First, the possibility to increase its benefits by ... [more ▼]

Testing is a well-established desirable difficulty. Yet there are still some open issues regarding the benefits of testing that need to be addressed. First, the possibility to increase its benefits by adapting the sequence of test questions to the learners' level of knowledge has scarcely been explored. In view of theories that emphasize the benefits of adapting learning tasks to learner knowledge, it is reasonable to assume that the common practice of providing all learners with the same test questions is not optimal. Second, it is an open question as to whether the testing effect prevails if stronger control conditions than the typical restudy condition are used. We addressed these issues in an experiment with N = 200 university students who were randomly assigned to (a) adaptive testing, (b) non-adaptive testing, or note-taking (c) without or (d) with focus guidance. In an initial study phase, all participants watched an e-lecture. Afterward, they processed its content according to their assigned conditions. One week later, all learners took a posttest. As main results, we found that adaptive testing yielded higher learning outcomes than non-adaptive testing. These benefits were mediated by the adaptive learners' higher testing performance and lower perceived cognitive demand during testing. Furthermore, we found that both testing groups outperformed the note-taking groups. Jointly, our results show that the benefits of testing can be enhanced by adapting the sequence of test questions to learners' knowledge and that testing can be more effective than note-taking. [less ▲]

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See detailKnow Your Preferences: Self-Regulation as Need-Congruent Goal Selection
Grund, Axel UL; Fries, Stefan; Rheinberg, Falko

in REVIEW OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY (2018), 22(4), 437-451

Theory and research on self-regulation is dominated by a social-cognitive perspective that places an emphasis on postdecisional (i.e., volitional) control processes of goal-maintenance in response to dual ... [more ▼]

Theory and research on self-regulation is dominated by a social-cognitive perspective that places an emphasis on postdecisional (i.e., volitional) control processes of goal-maintenance in response to dual-motive conflict. In the current contribution, we focus on research on self-regulation that acknowledges the affective fundamentals of motivated action, and we highlight processes of goal selection as vital parts of self-regulation. From our perspective of motivational competence, affective and cognitive processes work together rather than oppose each other in self-regulation, rendering effortless rather than effortful goal pursuit as the hallmark of efficient human action. A precondition for such motive- and self-congruent goal pursuits is that individuals have insight into their basic preferences and (can) act accordingly. Therefore, we address capacities, such as mindfulness, which may take effect in predecisional (i.e., motivational) action phases, thereby determining all subsequent action processes. [less ▲]

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See detailMotivational foundations of self-control and mindfulness and their role in study-leisure conflicts
Grund, Axel UL; Senker, Kerstin

in LEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES (2018), 68

In the present paper, we compared two self-regulatory capacities, trait self-control and mindfulness, with respect to their potential to help students deal with motivational conflicts between studying and ... [more ▼]

In the present paper, we compared two self-regulatory capacities, trait self-control and mindfulness, with respect to their potential to help students deal with motivational conflicts between studying and leisure time, by either promoting a selective, normatively oriented versus open-minded, non-judgmental stance toward conflicting motivations. We also investigated the role of value orientations and need satisfaction is this regard. Study 1 (N = 196) initially showed that trait self-control, but not trait mindfulness, goes along with a preference for achievement-oriented over well-being-oriented values, which might explain the academic benefits associated with self-control. Study 2 (N = 306) replicated the link between value orientations and trait self-control. In line with this motivational pattern, we found context-specific effects for self-control in study leisure conflict scenarios, consolidating academic engagement, but not leisure engagement. Consolidating effects for trait mindfulness were context-transcending and independent from value orientations. Finally, in Study 3 (N = 160), we found evidence that the total effects of trait self-control and mindfulness are differentially mediated via either activity preferences (self-control) or need satisfaction (mindfulness). We discuss motivational interpretations for self-control and mindfulness with respect to the daily juggle between students' academic and leisure-related strivings. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiple Goals and Motivation at School: The Theory of Motivational Action Conflicts
Hofer, Manfred; Fries, Stefan; Grund, Axel UL

in ZEITSCHRIFT FUR PADAGOGISCHE PSYCHOLOGIE (2017), 31(1), 69-85

This article presents the research program "Theory of Motivational Action Conflicts", which addresses situations in which persons aim at achieving more than one important goal. The theory was studied with ... [more ▼]

This article presents the research program "Theory of Motivational Action Conflicts", which addresses situations in which persons aim at achieving more than one important goal. The theory was studied with students striving simultaneously to reach academic and nonacademic goals. When students experience goal conflicts, incentives attached to options not chosen may interfere with the execution of the chosen action. Cross-sectional, longitudinal, experience-sampling, and experimental studies show that, depending on its strength, motivational interference can impair the achievements as well as the well-being of students. The article provides hints on how students can minimize goal conflicts in order to experience a better balance across developmental contexts. [less ▲]

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See detailAiming at a Moving Target: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations in the Study of Intraindividual Goal Conflict between Personal Goals
Gorges, Julia; Grund, Axel UL

in FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY (2017), 8

Multiple-goal pursuit and conflict between personal life-defining goals can be considered part of everyday business in most individuals' lives. Given the potentially detrimental effects of goal conflict ... [more ▼]

Multiple-goal pursuit and conflict between personal life-defining goals can be considered part of everyday business in most individuals' lives. Given the potentially detrimental effects of goal conflict-for example, impaired well-being or poor performance-the literature on goal conflict is surprisingly scattered due to heterogeneous methodological approaches and technical terms. Little empirical research has addressed the conceptualization of goal conflict against the background of differing understandings from a structure-like and a process-like perspective. In the present article, we outline theoretical foundations of goal conflict from two perspectives: a structure-and a process-like perspective. Based on a comparative analysis and integration of these two perspectives, we systematically review empirical studies on goal conflict over 30 years of research. In doing so, we identify and discuss important conceptual dimensions of goal conflict, namely, goal conflict as a cognitive construct and an experiential instance, a focus on goal interrelations or on specific goal properties, and resource vs. inherent conflict, and the potential of these distinctions to further research on goal conflict. Finally, we present major challenges and pose questions that need to be addressed by future research. [less ▲]

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See detailThe long arm of work: A motivational conflict perspective on teacher strain
Grund, Axel UL; Brassier, Nina Katrin; Fries, Stefan

in Teaching and Teacher Education (2016), 60

Teacher strain is seen typically as a phenomenon within the job domain. Drawing on effort-recovery theory as well as on research on work family conflict and motivational interference, we propose that ... [more ▼]

Teacher strain is seen typically as a phenomenon within the job domain. Drawing on effort-recovery theory as well as on research on work family conflict and motivational interference, we propose that intrapsychic conflict between different life domains also contributes to teachers' emotional exhaustion. Findings based on self-reports of 234 teachers show that particularly the negative impact of work on teachers' private life related positively to their emotional exhaustion, and that this effect is mostly mediated by motivational interference effects in the social domain. Hence, adequate leisure experiences and detachment from work seem to be crucial to prevent prolonged emotional strain. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailImpairments in learning due to motivational conflict: situation really matters
Brassler, Nina K.; Grund, Axel UL; Hilckmann, Kristina et al

in Educational Psychology (2016), 36(7), 1323-1336

Although many theories mention distractions by conflicting alternatives as a problem for self-regulation, motivational conflicts are rarely considered when explaining impairments in learning. In two ... [more ▼]

Although many theories mention distractions by conflicting alternatives as a problem for self-regulation, motivational conflicts are rarely considered when explaining impairments in learning. In two studies, we investigate the assumption of motivational interference theory that students show different amounts of impairments in learning depending on the presence and motivational strength of conflicting alternatives. In Study 1 (N = 221), the subjective value attributed to a respective alternative in a study-leisure conflict scenario partially accounted for differences in self-regulated learning while controlling for interindividual differences. Study 2 (N = 112) demonstrated that this pattern applies to both when the respective alternatives refer to 'liking to' (want conflicts) and 'having to' (should conflicts) do something. Moreover, it is demonstrated that impairments due to motivational conflict are higher than impairments inherent in the studying activity itself (baseline). The results emphasise the importance of concurring action alternatives for explaining difficulties in self-regulated learning. [less ▲]

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See detailTorn between want and should: An experience-sampling study on motivational conflict, well-being, self-control, and mindfulness
Grund, Axel UL; Grunschel, Carola; Bruhn, Dominik et al

in Motivation and Emotion (2015), 39(4), 506-520

We assumed that situations of motivational want conflict (i.e., feeling that one wants to do something else) and should conflict (i.e., thinking that one should do something else) show differential ... [more ▼]

We assumed that situations of motivational want conflict (i.e., feeling that one wants to do something else) and should conflict (i.e., thinking that one should do something else) show differential relationships to different components of well-being because more affective or more cognitive motivational aspects are ignored, respectively. Moreover, we assumed that these differences contribute to the understanding of different self-regulatory styles. Using an experience-sampling approach, 58 university students indicated their current affect, the underlying form of motivation, and whether they experienced a want or a should conflict regarding their daily activities (N = 2376). Furthermore, we assessed participants' self-control and mindfulness before and life satisfaction after the experience-sampling period. As expected, want conflicts came along with lower affective well-being, but were unrelated to cognitive life satisfaction. Although should conflicts also yielded a small, negative association with some aspects of affective well-being, overall, their negative relation with life satisfaction was more pronounced. Positive paths of self-control on affective well-being were mediated via less want and should conflicts, whereas positive paths of both mindfulness and self-control on life satisfaction were mediated via less should conflicts. The relative importance of want and should conflicts in daily self-regulation and well-being is discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailStudying against your will: Motivational interference in action
Grund, Axel UL; Schmid, Sebastian; Fries, Stefan

in Contemporary Educational Psychology (2015), 41

Motivational interference refers to affective, cognitive, and behavioral' impairments during a focal activity due to conflicting action tendencies. In the present study, we focused on antecedents and ... [more ▼]

Motivational interference refers to affective, cognitive, and behavioral' impairments during a focal activity due to conflicting action tendencies. In the present study, we focused on antecedents and domain-specific consequences of motivational interference during everyday study activities using an experience sampling approach. Fifty-eight university students provided real-time reports on their daily studying activities (N = 672) over the course of one week. They reported on their momentary affect, whether they experienced motivational conflict during their study activities, and, if so, indicated when this feeling emerged. After the experience sampling period, they reported on their academic and social adaptation as well as their study satisfaction, and rated their relative performance. Compared with non-conflicted studying activities, we found considerably lower positive affect during conflicted studying. Conflicts that existed before the initiation of the study activity, and conflicts that emerged during studying, yielded affective impairments. As expected, aggregated conflict experiences negatively predicted measures of academic functioning, but not students' social adaptation. The discussion focuses on motivational antecedents of interference effects during self-regulated learning. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailTorn Between Study and Leisure: How Motivational Conflicts Relate to Students' Academic and Social Adaptation
Grund, Axel UL; Brassler, Nina K.; Fries, Stefan

in Journal of Educational Psychology (2014), 106(1), 242-257

Research on motivational conflicts indicates that students' difficulties during studying may result from tempting alternatives in the leisure domain. In the present set of studies, we addressed the ... [more ▼]

Research on motivational conflicts indicates that students' difficulties during studying may result from tempting alternatives in the leisure domain. In the present set of studies, we addressed the question of whether academic motivation inversely has negative spillover effects on students' leisure-related functioning, too. In the first 2 studies (N = 169 and N = 206), the self-regulatory impairment students reported after the decision for studying or socializing in a predefined study-leisure conflict was related to their general academic and social adaptation. Results provide 1st evidence for domain-specific drawbacks in students' functioning, depending on which activity is interfered in situations of motivational conflict. In a 3rd study (N = 358), we replicated these findings based on idiographic conflicts. Furthermore, motivational interference is introduced as a crucial process that may underlie such adverse effects. It is demonstrated that after the decision for a focal action, the motivational strength of foregone alternatives continues to influence students' self-regulation during both study and leisure activities. Findings are discussed with regard to the connection between study and leisure strivings, motivational conflicts, and academic motivation. [less ▲]

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See detailStudy and leisure interference as mediators between students' self-control capacities and their domain-specific functioning and general well-being
Grund, Axel UL; Fries, Stefan

in Learning and Instruction (2014), 31

Study interference (i.e., studying is interfered by enjoyable alternatives) and leisure interference (i.e., leisure time is interfered by duties) are investigated as separate mediators between students ... [more ▼]

Study interference (i.e., studying is interfered by enjoyable alternatives) and leisure interference (i.e., leisure time is interfered by duties) are investigated as separate mediators between students' self-control capacities and their overall functioning (N = 253). Based on the assumption that both conflict experiences are associated with domain-specific outcomes, we calculated multiple mediator models with several indicators of students' domain-specific functioning as criteria, self-control as predictor, and students' tendency to experience motivational interference during studying (TMIS) and during leisure time (TMIL) as parallel mediators. As predicted, TMIS was the strongest mediator for measures of academic functioning, whereas TMIL was the strongest mediator for leisure functioning. With regard to general well-being, TMIL was the more consistent mediator. Findings are in line with the assumption that students' self-regulation difficulties are not only important for academic contexts but also for leisure contexts, especially when concepts of successful development include students' strivings in various life domains. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailWhy Students Procrastinate: A Qualitative Approach
Klingsieck, Katrin B.; Grund, Axel UL; Schmid, Sebastian et al

in Journal of College Student Development (2013), 54(4), 397-412

In this study we adopted an impartial view on academic procrastination in order to gain new insights for the development of intervention programs. Following a qualitative approach, we thereby explored ... [more ▼]

In this study we adopted an impartial view on academic procrastination in order to gain new insights for the development of intervention programs. Following a qualitative approach, we thereby explored antecedents of procrastination by attending to the actual voices and experiences of 29 students. Students' subjective theories were in line with some antecedents that previous research had addressed (lack of motivation or volitional control), but also revealed relatively new aspects of academic procrastination that concern students' social relatedness and task competence. Considering these findings, we suggest ideas on how to assist students and how to design intervention programs. [less ▲]

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See detailMotivational profiles in study-leisure conflicts: Quality and quantity of motivation matter
Grund, Axel UL

in Learning and Individual Differences (2013), 26

The effects of the quality and quantity of motivation were compared in relation to students' levels of experienced internal conflict in a specific study-leisure conflict using a person-oriented analysis ... [more ▼]

The effects of the quality and quantity of motivation were compared in relation to students' levels of experienced internal conflict in a specific study-leisure conflict using a person-oriented analysis on self-reports of 336 college students. Latent-profile-analysis identified three motivational profiles for learning and two motivational profiles for leisure. Consistent with a qualitative perspective on motivation, students with Good quality profiles for "reading papers" reported the least internal conflict under the temptation of a social activity. However, in accordance with the quantitative perspective on motivational interference, students with High quantity profiles for learning reported more internal conflict while imagining themselves socializing than students with Good and Poor quality profiles did. Similar effects for the leisure profiles and additional variable-oriented analyses confirmed the assumption that the quality of motivation best explains students' ongoing experience during a focal activity, whereas the effects of indirect motivational costs stemming from the motivational characteristics of missed activities are best described quantitatively. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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