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Horner's (1968) study of the motive to avoid success (M-s) was replicated on fifth- through eleventh-grade males and females. Children were given a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)-like measure of M-s and a sex role identity questionnaire. They also performed scrambled word tasks in competitive and noncom-petitive situations. While there were no sex-related differences or linear age trends in M-s imagery, sex and grade differences were found in the specific reasons given for avoiding success. The presence of M-s imagery in TAT-like stories did not predict significantly better performance on any one condition for all age and sex groups. However, ninth- and eleventh-grade females with M-s performed better in noncompetitive conditions, while their counterparts without M-s performed better in competitive conditions. The opposite pattern was found for males across all grades: those with M-s performed better in a competitive condition, those without M-s performed better in a noncompetitive condition. These results support Horner's hypothesis for older adolescent females but raise questions about the nature of the relationship between M-s imagery and competitive performance for males and young females. Sex role identity was not related to M-s, thus casting doubt on the notion that M-s is a direct function of female sex role acceptance.