The impact of achievement goals on cardiorespiratory fitness: Does self-efficacy make a difference?

Zan Gao, Ping Xiang, Marc Lochbaum, Jianmin Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The relationships among students' self-efficacy, 2 × 2 achievement goals (masteryapproach [MAp], mastery-avoidance [MAv], performance-approach [PAp], and performanceavoidance goals), and achievement performance remain largely unanswered. We tested a model of the mediating role of self-efficacy on the relationship between 2 × 2 achievement goals and cardiorespiratory fitness Method: A sample of 276 middle school students (115 boys and 161 girls; 91 sixth graders, 87 seventh graders, and 98 eighth graders), aged 12 to 15 years (Mage = 13.34, SD = 0.96), responded to the Achievement Goals Questionnaire (Conroy, Elliot, & Hofer, 2003) and Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (Gao, Newton, & Carson, 2008) referenced to the fitness test. Their cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed via the Progressive Aerobic Cardiorespiratory Endurance Run (PACER) 3 days later. Results: Structural equation modeling demonstrated an acceptable model fit to the data, χ2(2, N = 105) = 1.66. Self-efficacy had a statistically significant direct effect on the PACER after controlling for the effects of the achievement goals (γself-efficacy-PACER = .21). MAv and PAp also had direct effects on PACER performance ((γMAv-PACER = 2.24, and γPAp-PACER = .24, respectively). MAp failed to exert direct effect on the PACER. However, the indirect effect of MAp on the PACER via self-efficacy was small although it was statistically significant. Additionally, the indirect effects of MAv and PAp on PACER through self-efficacy were not significant Conclusions: Students' self-efficacy fully mediated the effect of MAp on fitness performance, as well as partially mediated the effects of MAv and PAp on cardiorespiratory fitness performance. Study implications are provided for educators and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-322
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 25 2013


  • Mastery-approach goal
  • Mastery-avoidance goal
  • Performance-approach goal
  • Performance-avoidance goal


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