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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Jul;73(1):171-85.

Avoidance achievement motivation: a personal goals analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


The present research investigated one antecedent and various consequences of pursuing avoidance personal achievement goals over the course of a semester. The authors assessed participants' achievement-relevant goals using the newly devised Achievement Goals Questionnaire. The motive to avoid failure, assessed with self-report and projective measures, was established as an antecedent of avoidance goal pursuit. Avoidance regulation was shown to have deleterious consequences for a host of achievement-relevant and general well-being outcomes at the end of the semester, including longitudinal change in subjective well-being. Perceived competence was validated as a mediator of the direct relationships observed. The results highlight the need to attend to avoidance, as well as approach, forms of self-regulation and the need to consider both motive disposition and goal constructs in accounting for competence-relevant behavior.

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