In the literature on achievement goals, performance-approach goals (striving to do better than others) and performance-avoidance goals (striving to avoid doing worse than others) tend to exhibit a moderate to high correlation, raising questions about whether the 2 goals represent distinct constructs. In the current article, we sought to examine the separability of these 2 goals using a broad factor-analytic approach that attended to issues that have been overlooked or underexamined in prior research. Five studies provided strong evidence for the separation of these 2 goal constructs: Separation was observed not only with exploratory factor analysis across different age groups and countries (Studies 1a and 1b) but also with change analysis (Study 2), ipsative factor analysis (Study 3), within-person analysis (Study 4), and behavioral genetics analysis (Study 5). We conclude by discussing the implications of the present research for the achievement goal literature, as well as the psychological literature in general.
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