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Optimistic, defensive-pessimistic, impulsive and self-handicapping strategies in university environments

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Learning and Instruction Volume 8, Number 2, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


A person-oriented approach was used to investigate what types of achievement strategy people apply in university environments, and how these are associated with their academic achievement, related satisfaction and personal well-being. Two hundred and fifty-four undergraduates filled in first the Cartoon-Attribution-Strategy Test, the Strategy and Attribution Questionnaire, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale and the revised Beck's Depression Inventory at the beginning of their studies, and one year later an academic satisfaction scale. Two years later, they again filled in the same measures. Their academic achievement was coded yearly from university archives. Four types of achievement strategy were identified: optimistic, defensive-pessimistic, impulsive and self-handicapping. An optimistic strategy was associated with academic satisfaction and well-being, whereas defensive pessimism was related to academic achievement. In turn, a self-handicapping strategy was associated with academic dissatisfaction and low well-being. Academic achievement and satisfaction were also found to predict changes in the use of defensive-pessimistic and selfhandicapping strategies.


Eronen, S., Nurmi, J.E. & Salmela-Aro, K. (1998). Optimistic, defensive-pessimistic, impulsive and self-handicapping strategies in university environments. Learning and Instruction, 8(2), 159-177. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved February 22, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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