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Abstract

A new task goal elicits a feeling of pride in individuals with a subjective history of success, and this achievment pride produces anticipatory goal reactions that energize and direct behavior to approach the task goal. By distinguishing between promotion pride and prevention pride, the present paper extends this classic model of achievement motivation. Regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) distinguishes between a promotion focus on hopes and accomplishments (gains) and a prevention focus on safety and responsibilities (non-losses). We propose that a subjective history of success with promotion-related eagerness (promotion pride) orients individuals toward using eagerness means to approach a new task goal, whereas a subjective history of success with prevention-related vigilance (prevention pride) orients individuals toward using vigilance means to approach a new task goal. Studies 1–3 tested this proposal by examining the relations between a new measure of participants' subjective histories of promotion success and prevention success (the Regulatory Focus Questionnaire (RFQ)) and their achievement strategies in different tasks. Study 4 examined the relation between participants' RFQ responses and their reported frequency of feeling eager or vigilant in past task engagements. Study 5 used an experimental priming technique to make participants temporarily experience either a subjective history of promotion success or a subjective history of prevention success. For both chronic and situationally induced achievement pride, these studies found that when approaching task goals individuals with promotion pride use eagerness means whereas individuals with prevention pride use vigilance means. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.