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Interpersonal Impact Messages Associated With Different Forms of Achievement Motivation


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


ABSTRACT Two studies evaluated relations between different forms of achievement motivation and transactional interpersonal impact messages during a dyadic puzzle-solving task. In Study 1,400 college students received no formal competence feedback during the task. In Study 2, competence feedback was manipulated for 600 college students and used to create high-, low-, and mixed-status dyads. Expectancies of success had robust actor and partner effects on submission in both studies. Competence valuation was linked with communal partner effects in Study 1 and a generalized interpersonal sensitivity in Study 2. When competence was ambiguous, approach and avoidance achievement motives exhibited affectively driven actor and partner effects consistent with their roots in pride and shame, respectively; however, when competence was established formally, motives had more cognitively driven effects on person perception and behavior (e.g., rejection sensitivity). Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of the achievement motivation system for organizing interpersonal impact messages during competence pursuits.

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