Background: In response to a resurgence of interest in and demonstrated utility of the approach-avoidance goal distinction, a number of researchers (Elliot & Church, 1997; Midgley et al., 1998; Skaalvik, 1997) have developed instruments to assess individual differences in the tendency to adopt approach-avoidance goals. However, to date there has been no attempt to examine the psychometric properties or conceptual and measurement overlap of these instruments.

Aims: (i) To determine whether three questionnaires designed to measure approach-avoidance goal orientations are assessing the same or different constructs, and (ii) to examine the psychometric properties of each of the approach-avoidance measures (i.e., internal consistency, convergent, discriminant, factorial, and construct validity).

Sample: Participants in this study were 475 undergraduate students (N = 228 males; N = 244 females; three missing information) enrolled at two large universities in the United Kingdom.

Method: Participants completed a questionnaire which included measures of approach-avoidance goal orientations, effort regulation, test anxiety, perceived ability, and intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation.

Results: Results revealed a degree of convergence between the three instruments. Each of the instruments demonstrated good psychometric properties although construct validity results were inconsistent across the measures.

Conclusion: There is a need for future research to clarify the operational definition and subsequent measurement of the performance avoidance construct, and in particular, to examine the role that effort, impression management, and anxiety/fear of failure play in its conceptualisation.