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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver

Second Committee Member

Matthias Siemer

Third Committee Member

Ray Winters

Fourth Committee Member

Heather Henderson

Fifth Committee Member

Edward Rappaport


The validity of a new essay coding system for rating performance goal orientation and learning goal orientation was tested using a sample of undergraduate students. The study was designed to remedy limitations in the design of the previous study using the essay coding system. The essay coding system was evaluated for its predictive power above and beyond the Goal Orientation Inventory, a self-report measure. Outcome measures included coping skills, depression, anxiety, well-being, and academic performance. It was predicted that performance goal orientation would be associated with unhealthy coping, more depression, more anxiety, less well-being, and lower GPA and learning goal orientation would be associated with healthy coping, less depression, less anxiety, more well-being, and higher GPA. Setback severity and setback frequency were predicted as moderators of the relationships between goal orientation and the outcome variables. Analysis of the Goal Orientation Inventory show that the subscales are associated with coping and mood as predicted. Using hierarchical linear regression, number of setbacks and severity of setbacks moderated the relationship between goal orientation and depression, wellbeing, and grades. High learning goals and high performance goals predicted more stable mood in the face of academic disappointments. High learning goals also predicted higher grades following a severe academic setback.


Academic Performance