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• A prospective design with two data waves using a sample of 627 Grade 6 students (T1).
• Perceived academic competence mediated the relationship between attachment security to the mother and mastery goal orientation.
• Security predicted fewer anxiety, which in turn predicted performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals.
• The findings have implications for taking parent–child relationships into account in designing preventive school interventions.
This study tested the mediating role of perceived academic competence and anxiety symptoms in the relationship between attachment security to the mother at the end of elementary school and achievement goal orientations (AGO) in the first year of middle school. The sample included 627 French-speaking youths (46% boys) in the province of Québec, Canada. Results revealed two association patterns between attachment security and AGO. The first indicated a mediating effect whereby perceived academic competence mediated the relationship between attachment security to the mother and mastery goal orientation. The second indicated a sequential effect whereby attachment security predicted fewer anxiety symptoms, which in turn predicted the adoption of performance-approach and -avoidance goals. Results supported the hypothesized relationship between attachment security to mother and AGO, suggesting that goal orientations are partly explained by students' motivational and emotional characteristics. Results are discussed in relation to theoretical perspectives on attachment and achievement goals.
Journal: Learning and Individual Differences - Volume 39, April 2015, Pages 39–48