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Sami Määttä, Håkan Stattin, and Jari-Erik Nurmi (2002)

Achievement strategies at school: types and correlates

Journal of Adolescence, 25:31-46.

In this study we made an effort to identify the kinds of strategies adolescents deploy in achievement context in an unselected sample of Swedish adolescents. The participants were 880 14–15-year-old comprehensive school students (399 boys and 481 girls) from a middle-sized town in central Sweden. Six groups of adolescents were identified according to the strategies they deployed. Four of them, i.e. optimistic, defensive pessimistic, self-handicapping and learned helplessness strategies, were similar to those described previously in the literature. The results showed that membership in the functional strategy groups, such as in mastery-oriented and defensive pessimist groups, was associated with well-being, school adjustment and achievement, and low levels of norm-breaking behaviour. By contrast, membership in the dysfunctional, for example self-handicapping and learned helplessness strategy groups, was associated with low levels of well-being, and of school adjustment, and a higher level of norm-breaking behaviour.

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