The Expression of Achievement Motives in Interpersonal Problems


  • We thank Miranda Kaye for her assistance with data collection and data entry.

concerning this article should be addressed to David E. Conroy, 266 Rec Hall, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Achievement motivation influences self-regulatory strategies, affective processes, and achievement outcomes, but little is known about how individual differences in achievement motivation influence interpersonal behavior. Different forms of achievement motivation are likely to influence interpersonal behavior because achievement motives are grounded in social emotions. Two studies were conducted to examine relations between achievement motives and dispositional interpersonal problems. These studies linked deficits in pride-based need for achievement with self-reported submission-related interpersonal problems, and shame-based fear of failure (FF) with both self- and peer-reported interpersonal distress. The achievement motives were largely not associated with individuals' perceptions of their peers' interpersonal problems. These findings reinforce propositions that FF represents the commingling of achievement and relational concerns and suggest new mechanisms by which achievement motives may influence productivity, social success, and well-being.