Finding What Works, Works; But Doing It Requires Self-Control: An Evaluation of a Solution-Focused Online Intervention to Increase Goal Striving

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Solution-Focus (SF) is an evidence-based interviewing protocol that increases goal commitment and facilitates goal striving, yet few attempts have been made to use it in scalable interventions. This study tested a SF-inspired online intervention (Solution-Focus with Implementation Intentions, SFII) designed to enhance academic goal striving. SFII led students to find study strategies that worked for them and then it directed them to formulate implementation intentions (II) specifying when and where to replicate those strategies. Undergraduate students (N = 170) were randomly assigned to either SFII or an essay-writing condition. Daily study goal achievement for the following week was not significantly different between the two groups; however, students who carried out II did better in achieving their study goal than those who did not execute them, both within the SFII condition (d = 0.55, p = .042) and across the sample (partial η2 = .02, p = .047). Students in the SFII condition who followed through had on average higher levels of self-control than those who did not (d = 0.73, p = .003). These findings suggest that the SF distinctive approach might have helped in the formulation of effective II, and that carrying them out was mostly a matter of self-control.


solution-focus, MCII, goal striving, online interventions, brief interventions


Education, Achievement


Empirical Study



Date Posted: 19 December 2014