A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation

Andrew J. Elliot, Marcy A. Church
1997 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  
A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation was proposed and tested in a college classroom. Mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals were assessed and their antecedents and consequences examined. Results indicated that mastery goals were grounded in achievement motivation and high competence expectancies; performance-avoidance goals, in fear of failure and low competence expectancies; and performance-approach goals, in ach.ievement motivation,
more » ... ent motivation, fear of failure, and high competence expectancies. Mastery goals facilitated intrinsic motivation, performance-approach goals enhanced graded performance, and performanceavoidance goals proved inimical to both intrinsic motivation and graded performance. The proposed model represents an integration of classic and contemporary approaches to the study of achievement motivation. Achievement motivation is a ubiquitous feature of daily life. In the classroom, at the workplace, and on the ballfield individuals strive to be competent in their effortful activities. In the past decade, many theorists have utilized a social-cognitive, achievement goal approach in accounting for individuals' competence-relevant strivings. "Achievement goal" is commonly defined as the purpose of task engagement (Maehr, 1989) , and the specific type of goal adopted is posited to create a framework for how individuals interpret, experience, and act in their achievement pursuits (Dweck, 1986; Nicholls, 1989) . Achievement goal theorists commonly identify two distinct orientations toward competence: a performance goal focused on the demonstration of competence relevant to others, and a mastery goal focused on the development of competence and task mastery (Ames & Archer, 1987 ; for similar conceptualizations with different nomenclature see Dweck, 1986; NichoUs, 1984). The adoption of a performance goal is hypothesized to produce susceptibility to a "helpless" pattern of responses in achievement settings (e.g., a preference for easy or difficult tasks, withdrawal of effort in the face of failure, and decreased task enjoyment), whereas the adoption of a mastery goal is presumed to lead to a "mastery" motivational pattern (e.g., a preference for moderately challenging tasks, persistence in the face of failure, and enhanced task enjoyment
doi:10.1037/0022-3514.72.1.218 fatcat:yf7r7amdkrftxewqu2lgr5dzn4