Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mark Pancer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study was designed to examine the relative power of control theory (Carver, 1979) and self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1977) in predicting behavioral persistence. This study employed a 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 factorial design. One hundred and twelve undergraduate females were exposed to high and low levels of self-attention and task importance as well as positive and negative self-efficacy and outcome expectancies. Following failure on an anagram task subjects’ persistence in solving in insoluble design puzzle was assessed. Contrary to the hypotheses, the results suggested that self-efficacy expectancies, outcome expectancies, task importance and self-attention do not influence persistence behavior. However, large amounts of within group variance in the persistence scores may have been obscured differences between the groups. It is suggested that greater numbers of subjects within each condition may provide a more reliable indication of the examined variables’ effects on persistence. Brehm’s (1966) reactance theory is also discussed in an attempt to better explain the variations in persistence behavior.

Convocation Year