Standard Article

Achievement Motivation

  1. Allan Wigfield,
  2. Jenna Cambria

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0008

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Wigfield, A. and Cambria, J. 2010. Achievement Motivation. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Motivational psychologists study what moves people to act and why people think and do what they do (Weiner, 1992). Motivation energizes and directs actions, and so it has great relevance to many important developmental outcomes such as school achievement, performance in other activity areas, and overall mental health. Fundamentally, motivational theorists and researchers work to understand the motivational predictors of choice, persistence, and effort (Wigfield, Eccles, Schiefele, Roeser, & Davis-Kean, 2006). Achievement motivation refers more specifically to motivation relevant to performance on tasks in which there are criteria to judge success or failure. Examples of these kinds of tasks are school activities, work activities, and competitive sport activities. In all such activities competence is a crucial part of motivation to achieve. Motivation in all forms is most directly observable in the level of energy in individual's behaviors.


  • motivation;
  • achievement;
  • development;
  • socialization