Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Katkovsky, Walter

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Success; Women--Psychology


The purpose of the present study was fourfold: 1) to determine whether the Motive to Avoid Success (M_s) could be aroused or discouraged in college women by exposing them to "negative" or "positive" statements about successful women; 2) to determine whether manipulating the level of the Motive to Avoid Success would differentially affect subjects' performance, performance expectancies, minimal goals, self evaluations, and statements of importance attributed to performance in an individual and a competitive testing situation; 3) to further investigate Horner's (1968) finding that high fear-of-success women performed better alone than in competition whereas low fear-of-success women performed better in competition than alone; 4) to investigate possible relationships between the Motive to Avoid Success and performance expectancies, minimal goals, self-evaluations and statements of importance. The hypotheses predicting that the effects of the M_s arousal manipulation should have produced differences in subjects' story completions in accord with the experimental treatment were not supported, and results generally indicated that the M_s manipulations used were ineffective in altering subjects' M s levels. No support was found for the hypotheses predicting an interaction between the individual and competitive testing and the M_s arousal groups. To the extent that testing these hypotheses depended on the effective manipulation of M_s, they do not appear to have been satisfactorily tested in this study. The results indicated significant differences in subjects' reactions to the individual versus competitive testing on a number of the dependent variables. Subjects expected to do better and reported higher minimal standards for performance in the individual testing compared with the competitive testing. On the other hand, they performed better, evaluated their performance higher and felt the accomplishment was more important in the competitive testing than in the individual testing. Horner's (1968) findings that high fear-of-success women performed better alone than in competition, whereas low fear-of-success women performed better in competition than alone, were not found in this study when Neutral subjects' pre-manipulation M_s scores were used as an independent variable and their performance in individual and competitive testing was compared. A relationship between Motive to Avoid Success and performance expectancies was found when the pre-manipulation M_s scores of all subjects in this study were used as an independent variable. Consistent with Horner's findings, the high M_s subjects expressed significantly greater expectancies for success in individual performance as compared to competitive performance.


Includes bibliographical references.


127 pages




Northern Illinois University

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