The Investigation of Control Strategies within the frame of Motivational Theory of Life-Span Development

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Kurt D., UÇANOK Z.

STUDIES IN PSYCHOLOGY-PSIKOLOJI CALISMALARI DERGISI, vol.40, no.1, pp.187-215, 2020 (ESCI) identifier


The main purpose of this study is to investigate the control strategies used by individuals in the process of reaching a goal within the frame of the motivational theory of life-span development (Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Schulz, 2010). The sample consisted of 396 participants aged between 18 and 30 years. 214 (54%) of the participants were women and 182 (46%) of them were men. The mean age of the participants was 23.92 years (SD = 3.80). All of the participants were at least high school graduates. The participants were asked to remember the goal they had set for themselves during high school and university years, and to indicate what control strategies they applied if they had encountered an obstacle or a failure in the process of reaching this goal. The Optimization in Primary and Secondary Control Scale was also administered to the participants. In this study, we also examined the perceived support from significant others related to the goal. Qualitative data analysis conducted in the frame of motivational theory of life-span development (Heckhausen et al., 2010) indicated that a significant majority of respondents' answers could be classified as selective primary control and compensatory primary control strategies. These two strategies were followed by selective secondary control. The control strategy which was least used by the participants, was the compensatory secondary control. The results of the One-Way Repeated Measures of ANOVA also revealed that the compensatory secondary control was less frequently used compared to other control strategies. Our findings also showed that participants perceived support mostly from their mothers. The study indicated that participants used strategies such as investing time and effort, trying again and struggling, using new methods, and seeking help or advice from other people more than other strategies. The results also revealed that young individuals who encounter obstacles or failures in the process of reaching their goals mostly continue to strive to achieve their goals.