Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Achievement Goals

  • Nicolas SommetAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of RochesterLife Course and Inequality Research Centre, University of Lausanne Email author 
  • , Andrew J. ElliotAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester

Synonyms

Goal orientations; Goal standards

Definition

Achievement goals are self-regulatory commitments that provide direction to individuals as they interpret and respond to competence-relevant situations. Four types of achievement goals have been the primary focus of the literature: Mastery-approach goals (master a task; improve over time), performance-approach goals (outperform others), mastery-avoidance goals (not fall short of mastering a task; not decline over time), and performance-avoidance goals (not be outperformed by others).

Introduction

Achievement Goal Conceptualizations

The first generation of achievement goals research was based on a dichotomous framework (e.g., Dweck 1986). Two types of goals were distinguished: mastery goals and performance goals. Mastery goals were defined in terms of developing competence and task mastery and performance goals in terms of demonstrating competence relative to others. This distinction can be understood in terms of the definition of one’s co ...

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